January 17, 2020
Important transplant news for
In 1973, Congress made a commitment to patients living with end stage renal disease (ESRD) which allowed their treatment to be covered by Medicare regardless of age or disability status. Under the current arrangement, Medicare will cover the cost of dialysis - totaling more than
$85,000 per patient per year
- and after waiting an average of five to eight years for the gift of a new kidney, Medicare then covers the cost of the kidney transplant
totaling more than $110,000
Three years after a transplant, Medicare's coverage of daily anti-rejection medications that kidney transplant recipients depend on for the rest of their lives and
cost less than $3,000 per year
stops. When a patient loses their coverage, they're must find the funds to pay for medication on their own. What happens to this vulnerable population? They spread out their medications to make them last longer, they face the financial burden as best as they can - deciding between food on the table or medication, they reject their donated gift and they go back on dialysis, or, sadly, they die. The current Medicare policy cannot be justified morally, medically, or economically, and it must be changed.
Over the last several months, TRIO - Transplant Recipients International Organization, has been working with Honor the Gift, a patient-centered grassroots campaign focused on addressing the immunosuppressive medication coverage issue. Since launching on March 1 in 2019, the campaign has seen great support from both the kidney and transplant community and has successfully resurrected this issue once again in Washington, DC.
In 2019, under the leadership of Secretary Alex Azar - whose father was a kidney transplant recipient - the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released two reports which estimated that extending coverage of anti-rejection medications could save Medicare
up to $300 million over 10 years
The community and the Administration have both shown their support for extending Medicare's coverage limit on immunosuppressive medications, now it's Congress' turn. The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act was just introduced again in Congress this year and we need your voice to ensure it gets passed! Please contact your members of Congress today and urge them to stand with kidney transplant patients and #HonorTheGift of their kidney donors and donor families.
How you can help:
Contact your legislators today!
You can use the Honor the Gift site at
You can also go to the TRIO website and under the Public Policy tab there is a link which provides you information on how to contact your congressperson directly.
Spread the word on social media.
Below are three suggested social media posts on Facebook, Twitter or other sites. Please consider sending the information to you contacts on posting on the Chapter website. If you use Twitter, please ask the recipients to retweet!
- The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act was just introduced in Congress! Contact your members of Congress today to make sure they're supporting the bill. https://honorthegift.org/act/ #HonorTheGift #TRIO
- Many kidney transplant recipients are at risk of losing access to their immunosuppressive medications this year. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to #HonorTheGift of kidney donation at https://honorthegift.org/act/ #TRIO
- Kidney transplant recipients need your help! Contact your legislators today and urge them to support the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act! https://honorthegift.org/act/ #HonorTheGift #TRIO
Spread the word through your newsletter or ask other groups to spread the word.
Sample wording for and article follows:
TRIO NEWSLETTER CALL TO ACTION
Did you know that Medicare will cover the cost of dialysis and a kidney transplant, but cut off a patient's anti-rejection medication coverage just three years after they get their transplant? We're working to change that - but we need your help! Ask your members of Congress to stand with kidney transplant patients and #HonorTheGift of kidney donation today - Support H.R. 5534 and extend Medicare's coverage of immunosuppressive medications for kidney transplant patients! ACT NOW!
TRIO's national office has moved with new contact information
(as repeated at the bottom of this E-News and our TRIO web site pages), staffed by Executive Director, Gary Green: