The American Kidney Fund (AKF) recently hosted its annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, working together with 24 people with kidney disease, their caregivers and their loved ones from 14 states to share their stories with their representatives and to advocate for important kidney-related legislation. After spending a day getting to know each other and engaging in advocacy training, our Ambassadors went up to Capitol Hill on World Kidney Day, March 8th, to seek support for two bills: H.R. 3976, the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act, and H.R. 1270, the Living Donor Protection Act.
H.R. 3976 would protect access to health coverage by requiring insurance companies to accept payments from nonprofit charitable organizations like AKF that serve people who are living with serious health conditions and need charitable assistance to stay insured. This would help ensure that financially vulnerable people with chronic conditions, such as kidney disease, are protected against discrimination. The bill was introduced by Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and currently has 127 cosponsors.
H.R. 1270 would protect living organ donors by prohibiting insurance companies from denying or limiting coverage for life, disability and long-term care insurance. The bill would also clarify that living organ donors may use the Family and Medical Leave Act to recover from donation surgery and maintain job security. The legislation was introduced by Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York and currently has 59 cosponsors.
As part of the day's activities, AKF also hosted a well-attended Congressional briefing entitled "Women and Kidney Disease." In honor of World Kidney Day and International Women's Day, the briefing examined the importance of women's kidney health and its impact on all aspects of a woman's life. Congresswoman and co-chair of the Congressional Kidney Caucus, Suzan DelBene of Washington, provided opening remarks and Dr. Jessica Tangren, a nephrologist and current AKF Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellow, presented her research on pregnancy and dialysis. The briefing also featured several advocates who shared their stories as people on dialysis caring for young children and as organ donors for their loved ones.
Thank you to all of the advocates who participated and made AKF's Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill a success.