Press release

American Kidney Fund Statement on California AB 290

Statement from (Ms.) LaVarne A. Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund

ROCKVILLE, Md. (January 29, 2019) — We are disappointed to see another bill in California that singles out low-income, mostly minority dialysis patients to be targeted for discriminatory health insurance practices. We are reviewing the bill.

More than three-quarters of dialysis patients become unable to work, losing their livelihood at the same time their medical expenses skyrocket. For over two decades, some have turned to AKF's federally approved premium assistance program for help staying insured. Nearly two-thirds of the grant assistance AKF provides nationally is not for private plans, but for Medicare Part B, Medigap and Medicare Advantage premiums. California excludes end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients under 65 from having access to Medigap plans that cover Medicare's 20 percent coinsurance, leading some younger California ESRD patients to remain in their private plans rather than enrolling in Medicare.  AKF doesn't guide or steer patients into coverage; instead, patients are already insured when they apply to us for assistance. We are proud of this longstanding program that helps people who have nowhere else to turn and operates in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Our concern is, and has always been, that low-income dialysis patients continue to have access to the health care they need to stay alive. Charitable premium assistance from AKF is what makes that possible.

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nonprofit with the greatest direct impact on people with kidney disease. AKF works on behalf of 1 in 7 Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. AKF fights for kidney health for all through programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 21 consecutive years and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly known as GuideStar. 

For more information, please visit, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.