American Kidney Fund policy agenda
We work with Congress, the Administration, federal agencies and state governments to make kidney disease a national priority. Following are AKF's policy agenda for 2022.
Addressing health disparities and advancing health equity
There are longstanding health disparities in the U.S. — differences in health outcomes and health care among groups of people related to their race, ethnicity, age, disability, gender, geographic location, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation.
Ensuring equity in the COVID-19 pandemic response
People with ESRD have experienced a disproportionate impact from COVID-19. Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) showed that at the end of 2020, Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD had the highest rate of hospitalization among all Medicare beneficiaries — a rate six times higher than the hospitalization rate for Medicare beneficiaries generally.
Improving early detection of kidney disease and addressing the unknown causes of kidney disease
Although 37 million Americans are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD), most of them do not know it because it has no symptoms in the early stages. Millions more individuals are at risk of developing kidney disease and are not aware of their risks.
Fighting insurance discrimination against patients on dialysis
Health insurers systematically discriminate against low-income ESRD patients who rely on charitable assistance to afford their health insurance premiums and access the health care they need to stay alive. Over the years, many insurance carriers have refused charitable premium assistance payments from AKF on behalf of ESRD patients.
Ensuring adequate funding for kidney research and promoting innovation
Kidney disease affects 37 million Americans — far more than many other diseases. Yet federally funded research for kidney disease has lagged compared with many other diseases.
Encouraging organ donation and supporting kidney transplants
A kidney transplant is considered the best treatment option for many people facing kidney failure because it can increase their chances of living a longer, healthier life. However, the number of people on the organ transplant waiting list is great — about 108,000 Americans are on the list, with nearly 85 percent of those in need of a kidney.
Supporting Medigap reform
Most ESRD patients are eligible for Medicare even if they are under 65. But 20 states do not require health insurers to offer private supplemental Medigap plans to these younger Medicare beneficiaries.
Ensuring access to high quality, patient-centered care for Medicare beneficiaries with kidney disease
As the Medicare benefit continues to evolve for ESRD beneficiaries and people with earlier stages of chronic kidney disease, and as policymakers examine ways to improve quality and lower costs, access to coverage options, supporting patient choice in treatment options, and improving care quality and patient education must be at the center.
Protecting and enhancing access to health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and employer-sponsored insurance
The elimination of preexisting condition exclusions for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has enabled patients with chronic diseases, including kidney disease, to enroll in private commercial health plans that provide comprehensive coverage.
Protecting patient access to needed medications; supporting lower prescription drug costs
Access to medically appropriate prescription drugs for kidney patients must be preserved amid federal efforts to address the rising cost of prescription drugs. Patients with chronic kidney disease, kidney failure and kidney transplants rely on prescription drugs to manage their kidney disease and comorbidities.
Utilizing nutrition as a way to prevent and manage chronic diseases
Dietary interventions have been shown to be successful in managing and improving symptoms of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.
Our Legislative Priorities
Several important pieces of legislation have been introduced in the current Congress, and we are actively working to enact these bills that would affect kidney patients and their access to life-sustaining health care.
Keeping the memory alive
Fundraise for AKF
"I wanted to do something to honor my mom, and loved that my fundraiser could help kids with kidney disease go to summer camp." -Jose Ortiz, KidneyNation fundraiser
Support AKF anywhere, anytime — and have fun while doing it! Join an AKF 37 Mile Challenge. Pledge your birthday. Or create a fundraiser that's unique to you. We are here to support you along the way.
Take action on current issues
Keeping policymakers informed is critical in the fight against kidney disease. Add your voice to thousands of other voices in our Advocacy Network and help us make a difference!
Please email your members of Congress today and let them know that you are a kidney voter who urges them to take decisive action to help kidney patients.
Please contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators to ask them to cosponsor the Living Donor Protection Act that will ensure that individuals who give the gift of life are protected from discrimination and are encouraged to help those in desperate need.
Medigap, or Medicare Supplement insurance, is private insurance available to Medicare beneficiaries to cover costs that Medicare does not cover.
This bill is a crucial first step in addressing our nation's growing need to prevent and address kidney disease. Please contact your U.S. Representative today and ask them to cosponsor this important piece of legislation.