Public policy

AST Call To Action - Targeted Effort to Advance Key Transplant Patient-Focused Legislation

AST URGENT GRASSROOTS CALL TO ACTION!!

Outreach To Your Members of Congress During December "Lame Duck Congress" Is Critical

What You Can Do Today To Help Transplant Patients

Contact your 2 U.S. Senators and 1 Member of the House of Representatives and urge them to cosponsor & pass the following three AST transplant community priority legislative initiatives, below.  The preferred grassroots method to advance legislation is to personally make contact with the offices of your three Members of Congress (Two U.S. Senators & One U.S. House Representative).

  • CLICK HERE TO IDENTIFY YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

  • Call your three Congressional offices in Washington, DC

  • Upon reaching the Congressional office front desk staff, immediately identify yourself as a local constituent of that particular Member of Congress.

  • Additionally, state where you work as a constituent within the local transplant community (university, medical center, transplant program, etc).

  • Request to speak with the Healthcare Legislative Assistant (LA);

  • If unavailable, ask to leave a message for the office Healthcare LA and/or request the email address of the healthcare LA.

  • Discuss, leave a voicemail, or email your three Congressional Office Healthcare Legislative Assistants (LA). Use the Bill number and title (ex. H.R. 6139, Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2016 when referring to your representative or Senate Bill 2584 Living Donor Protection Act of 2016 when contacting your senator). This will be much more effective than using the title alone without the number.

 

I) H.R. 6139 - Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2016

Introduced by:

Congressman Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX)

Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI)

Date Introduced:

September 22, 2016

Background:

Extends Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant recipients. Medicare covers dialysis for most Americans, regardless of age, with no time limit. However, if an individual is under age 65 or not Medicare-disabled (receiving Social Security disability income) his or her eligibility ends 36 months after receiving a transplant. This bill will eliminate the 36-month time limit and provide continued Medicare coverage for these lifesaving immunosuppressive medications. All other Medicare would end after three years for kidney recipients based upon current law. This bill has only been introduced in the House at this time, so there is no corresponding Senate bill number.

 

II) H.R. 4616 & S. 2584 - Living Donor Protection Act of 2016

Introduced by:

Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) & Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX)

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) & Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Date Introduced:

February 25, 2016

Background:

This bill prohibits discrimination based upon an individual's status as a living organ donor in the offering, issuance, cancellation, coverage, price, or any other condition of a life insurance, disability, or long-term care insurance policy.

The bill amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to specifically include living organ donation as a serious health condition that entitles a covered employee to leave under that Act.

The Department of Health and Human Services must update public service announcements, websites, and other media regarding live organ donation to education the public on the benefits of live organ donation and access to insurance for living organ donors.

 

III) S. 3040 & H.R. 5926 - HHS-NIH Annual Funding Legislation

Background:

Request that your Members of Congress support and provide NIH with at least $34 billion for fiscal 2017, equal to the level approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee provides $33.3 billion.

 

What Is the Current Political Climate & Opportunity for Advancement of Legislation?

As you may be aware, Congress is currently in recess while members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are back home running for re-election. The foremost task facing Congress following the November 8th election will be to return to Capitol Hill (in a Lame Duck Session) to complete the 11 unfinished appropriation spending bills for the current fiscal year....including the HHS & NIH funding legislation for 2017. If Congress fails to act the federal government could face a shutdown of functions deemed nonessential after December 9th.  The "Lame Duck" Congressional Session is expected to last for approximately three weeks following the November 8th election (during December timeframe).

AST and the solid organ transplant advocacy community have again worked diligently during this 114th Session of Congress resulting in 3 of the Society's legislative priorities remaining very much active and "in-play" during the upcoming three week Lame Duck Congress in December.