In its proposed spending plan for 2020 released on February 10, the Trump administration includes a proposal to extend Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients.
The proposal, which would extend coverage for the life of the transplant, “will not only save lives but save taxpayers money,” the National Kidney Foundation said in a statement. U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy, MD, R-La., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced legislation on Feb. 28 that would extend immunosuppressive drug coverage for Medicare patients who receive a kidney transplant regardless of age. A House version of the bill was introduced in December 2019.
“Current law only covers Medicare Part B kidney transplant recipients for 36 months after a transplant occurs, meaning patients who lack other coverage after 36 months would have to cover the costs out of pocket,” according to a press release from Cassidy’s office. “Many people ration their medications or stop taking their drugs and end up back in kidney failure and on dialysis.”
The House and Senate bills would only extend Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs. Patients with private insurance would not be eligible.