Each year the American Kidney Fund brings a group of our Advocates to the nation’s capital for advocacy training and meetings with their elected officials on issues important to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients on dialysis.

On March 8, 2018, 24 kidney patients, caregivers and loved ones from 14 states joined the American Kidney Fund (AKF) on Capitol Hill to urge their elected representatives to protect living organ donors and ensure that low-income kidney patients continue to have access to health insurance, even if they need charitable assistance to afford it. The advocates, all members of AKF’s 8,700-member Advocacy Network, begun their day at AKF’s Congressional breakfast briefing focused on women and kidney disease.

Following the breakfast briefing, the advocates met with their elected officials and staff to talk about the challenges of living with kidney disease. They urged their representatives to support the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 1270) to make it easier for people to donate a kidney by prohibiting insurance discrimination and adding living donation to the Family Medical Leave Act. They also asked their representatives to cosponsor H.R. 3976, the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act, which would require health insurers to accept charitable premium assistance payments from nonprofits for health insurance premiums, preventing insurers from discriminating against patients with chronic diseases who need help paying for their insurance. AKF’s premium assistance program helps dialysis patients and post-transplant patients who cannot afford their insurance premiums on their own.