All transplants are vital. Just ask anyone who’s received a transplant. They’re certainly likely to tell you that it changed their life for the better!
Of transplants, kidneys are one of the most common organs donated and transplanted. In fact, of the 115,000 on the transplant waiting list approximately 90,000 are waiting for kidneys. Patients with transplants are significantly more likely to return to a high functioning lifestyle than patients on dialysis. Not only does it allow the recipient to start a new life, free of dialysis, it also saves the U.S. government millions of dollars. In the next year, 7,000 people in the U.S. will die waiting for a life-saving transplant. At the same time, the U.S. government could save $5 billion annually if dialysis patients on the waiting list received a kidney transplant. By keeping one patient off dialysis, over the course of 10 years, we can save $500,000 of Medicare dollars. That is half a million dollars per patient!
In the long run, costs associated with a kidney transplant are significantly less per patient than a lifetime of dialysis. You can see why we believe kidney transplants are critical to saving lives and saving taxpayer dollars! But, in order for a recipient to keep their transplanted organ and remain off dialysis, it’s imperative that patients continue to take their antirejection medications.
Unfortunately, for a kidney recipient on Medicare antirejection medications are merely covered for the first 36 months following a transplant. Therefore, after three years, a transplant recipient on Medicare will likely experience organ rejection- putting their life in severe danger and forcing them to return to dialysis.
Not only does this Medicare law insinuate the rejection of a priceless gift, it often keeps dialysis patients from pursuing a kidney transplant. With no coverage limit for dialysis treatments many opt to remain on dialysis for their own financial purposes, ultimately increasing Medicare spending on dialysis.
Shortening the waiting list, saving lives, and having successful transplants will benefit people across the nation on a daily basis. To do this, Legislation needs to be passed to protect kidney transplant patients and their medications. This step forward in the field of organ donation and transplantation would save countless lives and unnecessary spending.
The American Transplant Foundation, along with many other transplantation and organ donation organizations, is asking for your help! The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2011 would eliminate the time limit for antirejection medication coverage for kidney transplant patients. The results would be more transplanted kidneys, more long-term viability for transplants, less organ rejection, and fewer kidney recipients back on dialysis.
It’s not helping to save lives yet, because this bill is currently in the U.S. Senate and House of representatives. The American Transplant Foundation is seeking your support in urging members of Congress to support this legislation. Help take action now by signing the petition right now!