Kidney Patient-Advocates Join American Kidney Fund on Capitol Hill March 8 for Congressional Briefing, Legislative Meetings


Message to legislators: Protect kidney patients’ access to insurance and charitable assistance

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (March 7, 2017) – Eighteen patient-advocates from 13 states are coming to Capitol Hill Wednesday, March 8, to ask their legislators to protect kidney failure patients who rely on charitable assistance to pay for their health insurance premiums.

The advocates will join the American Kidney Fund (AKF) for a Congressional briefing, “The Critical Role of Charitable Assistance in Patient Access to Coverage,” at 9:30 a.m. at 1539 Longworth. Four patients will share their stories of living with kidney failure and relying on charitable assistance to help pay their insurance premiums when they could no longer work. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) are scheduled to speak, along with AKF President and Chief Executive Officer LaVarne A. Burton.

In recent years, health insurance companies have increasingly refused to accept premium payments from AKF and other nonprofits on behalf of their low-income policyholders. A federal judge recently blocked a harmful interim regulation that would have required dialysis patients wishing to enroll in an exchange plan to first obtain written confirmation from the insurance company that the insurance company would allow the patient to use charitable assistance to pay premiums.  

“March is Kidney Month, and we’re using this platform to spotlight the very real threat to low-income patients’ ability to access insurance coverage if insurers won’t accept patients who receive charitable assistance,” Burton said. “Our patient-advocates are calling on Congress to tell the Department of Health and Human Services that people living with kidney failure have the same rights to health care as any other American—even if the only way they can get it is with charitable help.”

After the briefing, the advocates will meet with their elected officials and their staff. As Congress continues to debate the future of health care in this country, advocates will remind their legislators that decisions made in Washington regarding who can be insured and under what terms can have devastating consequences for some of the nation’s most vulnerable patients.

The 18 patient-advocates attending AKF’s advocacy day on Capitol Hill were selected from AKF’s 6,000-strong advocacy network of patients, their loved ones and caregivers:

·         Ryan Bramlett, New Orleans

·         Anthony Brown, Kalamazoo, Michigan

·         Justin Condon, Hoboken, New Jersey

·         Stephanie Dixon, Brooklyn, New York

·         Eric Dolby, Raleigh, North Carolina

·         Jason Early, Allen, Texas

·         Chuck Genrich, Fairfax Station, Virginia

·         Tina Longorio, Austin, Texas

·         Toni Martin, Mason, Ohio

·         Reginald Mayes, Jr.* and Margie Branch*, Memphis, Tennessee

·         Elaine Milem*, Nicholasville, Kentucky

·         Lori Noyes*, Upland, California

·         Stephanie Shabanowitz, Oakdale, Connecticut

·         Pastor Andre Turner, Woodland Hills, California

·         David White, Hillcrest Heights, Maryland

·         Steven Winfree, Knoxville, Tennessee

*Speaking at briefing

About the American Kidney Fund

As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 31 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

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