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This Legislation Watch on RenalWEB tracks pending dialysis-related legislation at both federal and state levels. Features include links to bill summaries, sample letters to send legislators, related news articles, and position papers from contributors. You can access information by clicking on the links listed to the left of this paragraph.

The latest federal budget surplus estimates show that there is less money than previously anticipated to fund the government’s programs. As a result, competition for federal healthcare dollars will be fierce. Therefore, participation in lobbying and letter writing to legislators are more important this year than they have ever been.

If you are interested providing a sample letter or supporting information for any legislation, please contact RenalWEB at renalweb@renalweb.com.

 

 


  LATEST NEWS AND ACTION ITEMS
 
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House Ways and Means Committee Approves Dialysis Patient Access To Integrated care, Empowerment, Nephrologists, and Treatment (PATIENTS) Demonstration Act - Update from Committee on Ways and Means. (H.R. 5942) - September 8, 2016

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One Of The Biggest Lessons Lawmakers Learned From Zika? Don't Rely On Lawmakersco Over Zika - News Summaries from Kaiser Health News  - August 15, 2016

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ESRD Choice Act Moves out of Committee with Unanimous Support - News release from Dialysis Patient Citizens. Recent blog on this Medicare Advantage-related legislation from KidneyViews.  - August 11, 2016

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Legislation That Could Make Deductibles For Chronic Care More Affordable Has Bipartisan Support - July 29, 2016

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Representatives Introduce Bill That Would Improve Life for Patients with Kidney Disease - News item from the Chronic Disease Coalition. See text of bill H.R. 5506. - July 22, 2016
Editor's note: The only dialysis organizations that I can find that support this legislation are DaVita and Dialysis Patients Citizens (which was previously named DaVita Patient Citizens).

We badly need transparency from these organizations regarding their financial interests in all proposed legislation.

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Hospital Leaders Urge Congress to Remove Legal Barriers to Health Care Transformation - News brief from AHANewsNow. - July 12, 2016

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House Ways and Means Committee Approves ESRD Legislation - News release from Kidney Care Partners. H.R.5659 - ESRD Choice Act of 2016. - July 11, 2016
Editor's note: Among patient groups, only Dialysis Patient Citizens lobbied for this legislation. It would be interesting to know who paid for the "Patient Ambassadors" to appear in Washington.

In the grand scheme of things, who benefits most from this "sick-patient model" legislation?

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Ways and Means Announces Markup of Health, Tax, and Social Security Legislation - The July 13 meeting includes consideration of HR 5659, Expanding Seniors Receiving Dialysis (ESRD) Choice Act of 2016. - July 11, 2016

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Obama Renews Call For A Public Option In Health Law - Article from Kaiser Health News. - July 11, 2016

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KCP Applauds Legislation to Expand Medicare Coverage Options for Dialysis Patients - Press release from Kidney Care Partners. Text of the bill (HR 5659) is not available at this time. - July 2016

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Kidney Care Partners Encouraged by House and Senate Interest in Care Coordination for Patients with Kidney Failure - Press release. (An earlier press release on this legislation was deleted.) - June 24, 2016
Editor's note: This refers to bill HR 5506. It is another sick-patient model of care. Neither the words "employment" nor "rehabilitation' are mentioned in the legislation (à la Maddux).

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Reps. Young, Blumenauer Introduce HR. 5506, the Dialysis PATIENT (Patient Access to Integrated-Care, Empowerment, Nephrologists, and Treatment) Demonstration Act - News release from Congressman Todd Young of Indiana (text of the bill is available at this time.) - June 17, 2016

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 - June 55, 2016

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MedPAC Offers Proposals To Address ‘Unsustainable’ Drug Costs, But Congressional Action Unlikely - News brief from Kaiser Health News. Reports from MedPAC — Overview: Medicare Drug Spending (10-page pdf) and Overview: The Drug Development and Supply Chain (17-page pdf). - June 16, 2016

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Here's How Lawmakers Want To Fix Our Kidney Shortage - Opinion piece from The Washington Post. - May 31, 2016
Editor's note: With the large, for-profit, dialysis providers taking little action to improve U.S. dialysis care, it is time to help as many patients as possible escape the brutal treatment regimens that virtually no U.S. nephrologists would choose for themselves.

Which organizations will lobby against this bill? Likely Fresenius, DaVita, Amgen, and the National Kidney Foundation.

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Organ Transplants Between HIV-Positive Patients Now Legal In California - May 31, 2016

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Rep. Cartwright Introduces Legislation to Address Nation's Organ Transplant Shortage - Press release. The proposed legislation is a 7-page pdf. - May 26, 2016

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National Kidney Foundation Statement on The Organ Donation Clarification Act of 2016 - Press release from the National Kidney Foundation. - May 25, 2016
Editor's note: It is time for the National Kidney Foundation to come down from its ivory tower. The financial incentives of U.S. dialysis care leads to minimal care, disability for nearly all patients, and worse outcomes for patients compared to Europe and Japan. Many U.S. nephrologists profit from the sub-optimal care of their dialysis patients.

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House Republicans Offer Obamacare Alternative: 'World's Greatest Healthcare Plan Act of 2016' - Articles from The Hill and MedPage Today (registration required, but free). - May 23, 2016
"But much of ObamaCare would remain, including its safeguards against insurers discriminating based on pre-existing conditions. The law's tax increases would also be kept."

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Ways and Means Leaders Unveil 'Hospital Bill' - News brief from AHANewsNow. - May 18, 2016

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Speaker Paul Ryan Calls For End To Health Law’s Premium-Cost Protections For People Who Are ill - News summary from Kaiser Health News. - April 28, 2016

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The Living Donor Protection Act - Act Now to Protect Living Donors - March 29, 2016

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AST Applauds Senators Kirk (R-IL) & Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congressmen Nadler (D-NY) & Burgess (R-TX) for Introducing the Living Organ Donor Protection Act - News release from the American Society of Nephrology of Transplantation. - February 25, 2016

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Senate Vote Removes Major Hurdle in Robert Califf's Bid to Lead FDA - Article via STAT. - February 22, 2016

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38 House Members Show Support for Charity Premium Assistance - Article from Health Care Daily Report via Bloomberg BNA. - February 18, 2016

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Senators Aim To Defy Odds With Bipartisan Medicare Reform Efforts - Article from The Hill. - February 8, 2016

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Medicare Telehealth Bill Introduced in Congress - News item from AHANewsNow. Section 302 of the proposed legislation (on page 17 of the 26-page pdf) covers home dialysis. - February 3, 2016
"For purposes of subparagraph (A)(ii), an individual determined to have end stage renal disease receiving home dialysis may elect to receive the monthly end stage renal disease-related visits via telehealth if the individual receives an in-person examination at least once every three consecutive months."

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House of Representatives' Energy & Commerce Committee Expected To Grill CMS Deputy Administrator on Biosimilar Reimbursement Plan - Headline only from pay-for-view website InsideHealthPolicy.com. Hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4, 10:30 AM ET. - February 2016
"Lawmakers are expected to grill CMS Deputy Administrator Sean Cavanaugh on Thursday about a Medicare reimbursement policy, opposed by members of both parties, designed to drive down prices of biosimilars."

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Senate Chronic Care Report Elicits Strong Reactions - (Registration required, but free.) Article from MedPage Today. - January 29, 2016

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Senators Say Fixes to Disability Insurance Not Enough - January 28, 2016

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HDU Comments on Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group - Letter from Home Dialyzors United. - January 27, 2016

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RPA Response to Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group Policy Options Document - Letter from the Renal Physicians Association. - January 26, 2016

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Senate to Break up House Passed 'Cures' Bill - Article from The Hill.  - January 19, 2016

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2016 Health Law Enrollment Tops 11.3M - January 7, 2016

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Congressional Bill Could Extend Thousands of Nursing Careers by Preventing Injuries - December 16, 2015

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Senate Approves Bill Repealing Much of Obamacare - Article from The Hill. - December 3, 2015

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Health Subcommittee to Mark Up Seven Bills; HHS Waives Fraud and Abuse Laws in Shared Savings Program; Two-Midnight Rule Revisions Finalized - November 2, 2015

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New Legislation Opens the Doors for Dialysis of Medicare AKI Patients at ESRD Facilities - Posting from the AJKD blog. - October 15, 2015

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Kidney Community Unites to Urge Lawmakers to Advance and Protect Kidney Health - Press release from Home Dialyzors United. - September 10, 2015

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25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act — July 2015 - July 31, 2015

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Hospital Leaders Urge Congress to Support Needs of Rural Patients - News brief from AHANewsNow. - July 29, 2015

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Congress Overwhelmingly Approves Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients' Hospital Rights - Article from Kaiser Health News. - July 29, 2015

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Op-Ed: Let's Connect the Chronic Kidney Disease Dots - (Registration required, but free.) Article from MedPage Today. - July 26, 2015

Editor's note: This is an editorial, written by the leaders of three "dialysis patient advocacy" organizations, calling for legislation that would allow dialysis patients to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans. This would drive more business and healthcare dollars to dialysis corporations and nephrologists.

For decades, U.S. dialysis care has lagged far behind other fields of medicine, as well as other first-world countries, in terms of improving patients' life outcomes. One must wonder why these leaders continue to "dance" for a stagnant, underperforming, medical-industrial complex that has failed U.S. dialysis patients for so long.

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House Overwhelmingly Votes to Pass 21st Century Cures FDA Reform Bill - News briefs from Healthcare DIVE and AHA News Now. - July 10, 2015

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New Law Allows Outpatient Dialysis Clinics To Treat Acute Care Dialysis Cases - Article from Nephrology News & Issues. - June 30, 2015
Editor's note: As usual, the only parts of ESRD legislation that get slipped into non-related bills at the last minute are those that benefit the groups with money: drug companies, dialysis companies, and U.S. nephrologists. The other parts of the ESRD legislation that would benefit patients are always somehow excluded.

Who is going to fight for the parts that benefit patients?

On another note, are dialysis technicians going to be caring for patients with acute kidney injuries? Do nephrology nurses think this is a good idea?

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Obamacare's Next Hurdles to Clear - Articles from Kaiser Health News and HealthDay. - June 26, 2015

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Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Health Law Subsidies - Article and news summary from Kaiser Health News. - June 25, 2015

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In Wake of High Court Ruling, What's Next for Obamacare - Article from HealthDay. - June 25, 2015

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CBO Finds 19 Million Would Become Uninsured If Health Law Repealed - Article from Kaiser Health News. - June 19, 2015

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How Four Words In Huge Health Law Divide The Supreme Court - Article from Kaiser Health News. - June 17, 2015

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Poll: Most Want Congress to Save Obamacare Subsidies - Article from The Hill. - June 16, 2015

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House Votes to Strike Medicare Cuts from Trade Legislation - News brief from AHA News Now. - June 11, 2015

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Here's How to Buy Your Way Into a Meeting With a Congressman - Article from The Daily Dot. - June 10, 2015
"Members of Congress are 231% more likely to meet with you if you've paid them."

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The Americans With Disabilities Act and HIV/AIDS Discrimination — Unfinished Business - Free, full-text, Online First viewpoint article from the Journal of the American Medical Association. - June 9, 2015

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Bill to Reform Medicare Appeals Process Moves Forward - Article from The Hill. - June 3, 2015

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The Repeal of Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate for Physician Payment - Free, full-text article from the Journal of the American Medical Association. - May 26, 2015

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House Energy and Commerce Committee Unanimously Approves 21st Century Cures Act - News item from AHA News Now. Article from The Hill. - May 21, 2015

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Medical Cures Bill on the Move - Articles (#2) from The Hill. - May 18, 2015

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Senate Finance Working Group to Develop Medicare Chronic Care Legislation - News brief from AHA News Now. Statements and testimony of May 14trh hearing. - May 14, 2015

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Bill Would Create 'National Nurse' Position - Article from The Hill. - May 6, 2015

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Lawmakers Target Stopping VA Whistleblower Retaliation - News summary from Kaiser Health News. - April 29, 2015

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Senators Warn Medicare Appeals System 'Buckling under Its Own Weight' - Article from The Hill. - April 28, 2015

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Rays of Bipartisanship As Health Chief Faces Senate Panel - Article from The Hill. - April 23, 2015

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What's At Stake In The Supreme Court Obamacare Case - Article from Kaiser Health News. - April 21, 2015

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Obama Signs ‘Doc Fix’ Bill Overhauling How Medicare Pays Doctors - News summary from Kaiser Health News. - April 17, 2015

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Medicare Changes In ‘Doc Fix’ Bill OK’d By Congress Has Benefits, Risks - News summary from Kaiser Health News. - April 16, 2015

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Bipartisanship Breaks out at 'Doc Fix' Signing Ceremony - April 16, 2015

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Senate Approves Bill To Change The Way Medicare Pays Doctors - News summary and FAQs about the bill from Kaiser Health News. - April 15, 2015

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Senate Overwhelmingly Approves House 'Doc Fix' Bill - Article from The Hill. - April 14, 2015

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The Doc-Fix Back Story: How Boehner And Pelosi Made A Deal - Article from Kaiser Health News. - March 30, 2015

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No Senate 'Doc Fix' Vote until after Spring Break - News brief from Healthcare DIVE. - March 27, 2015

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FAQ: What's In The House's Proposal To Fix Medicare's Payments To Doctors - Article from Kaiser Health News. - March 27, 2015

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House Passes 'Doc Fix' Legislation by 392-27 - Brief from Healthcare DIVE. Articles from Kaiser Health News and The Hill. - March 26, 2015

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Obama Backs Medicare Deal, Pressuring Senate - Article from The Hill. - March 25, 2015

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Stakes Are High For Votes On Budget, Medicare Fix - News summary from Kaiser Health News. - March 25, 2015

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Health Law Brings No Drop In Insurance Enrollment At Work, Study Finds - Article from Kaiser Health News. - March 20, 2015

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SGR Replacement Bill Introduced in House - News brief from AHANews.com. - March 19, 2015

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House GOP Budget Plan Would Repeal ACA, Privatize Medicare, Block Grant Medicaid - News summary from Kaiser Health News. - March 17, 2015

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Speaker Boehner's $200 Billion Gamble Will Divide Republicans - Article from The Hill. - March 16, 2015

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Momentum Building in Congress for $174 Billion Medicare Fix - Article from The Hill. - March 12, 2015

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House GOP Plans Votes on Budget, Medicare Cuts in March - Article from The Hill. - March 11, 2015

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Why Does the Affordable Care Act Remain So Unpopular? - Article from the Journal of the American Medical Association. - March 10, 2015

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GOP Braces for ObamaCare Win at the Supreme Court - Video/news brief from The Hill. - March 7, 2015

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Surprises And Standing: Breaking Down the Supreme Court Arguments on Obamacare - Video/text and article from Kaiser Health News. Article from The Hill. - March 4, 2015

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Obamacare and the Supreme Court: What's at Stake - Article from HealthDay. - March 3, 2015

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New Kidney Disease Legislation Introduced - Press release from Kidney Care Partners. - February 27, 2015
Editor's note: Text of the bill is not yet available.

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Burwell: No Back-Up Plan If High Court Overturns Obamacare Tax Credits - February 25, 2015

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Survey: With Health Law's Help, Uninsured Rate Drops To Lowest Level In 7 Years - February 24, 2015

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Americans Still Divided over Obamacare - Article from HealthDay. - February 19, 2015

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ObamaCare Enrollment Beats Administration Goal - Article from The Hill. - February 17, 2015

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Graphics -- Premium Changes in the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplaces, 2014-2015 - February 10, 2015

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Senators Confident ICD-10 Is a Go - Article from Healthcare IT News. GAO report. - February 9, 2015

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When It Comes To The Health Law And Taxes, Millions May Face Penalties - News summary from Kaiser Health News. - January 29, 2015

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9.5 Million Sign Up For Insurance Through Health Law Marketplaces - News summary from Kaiser Health News. - January 28, 2015

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Supervision Bill Aims to Protect Rural Access to Outpatient Services - January 27, 2015

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Budget Office Lowers ObamaCare Price Tag by 20 Percent - January 26, 2015

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As Health Law Becomes More Entrenched, GOP Divided Over Strategy - News summary from Kaiser Health News. - January 12, 2015

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News Summaries from Kaiser Health News - January 5, 2015


Top of Page

 STATE LEGISLATION

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Prominent Democratic Consultants Sign Up to Defeat Single Payer in Colorado - Article from The Intercept. - May 3, 2016
"The anti-single-payer effort is funded almost entirely by health care industry interests, including $500,000 from Anthem Inc., the state's largest health insurance provider; $40,000 from Cigna, another large health insurer that is current in talks to merge with Anthem; $75,000 from Davita, the dialysis company; $25,000 from Delta Dental, the largest dental insurer in the state; and $100,000 from SCL Health, the faith-based hospital chain."

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In Rural States Policy Changes To Improve Access To Home Dialysis Are Vital - Posting from the Health Affairs blog. - April 12, 2016

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Proposed North Carolina Bill Could Make Blue Cross Accept Third-Party Payments for Dialysis - Article and video from WNCN.com. - December 21, 2016

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Colorado To Vote on Universal Healthcare - Article from The Hill. - November 9, 2015

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California Gov. Brown Signs Aid-in-Dying Bill Into Law - Article from KQED and Kaiser Health News. - October 5, 2015

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Calif. Lawmakers Approve Bill Requiring Drug Labeling In 5 Foreign Languages - Article from Kaiser Health News. - September 11, 2015

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California Lawmakers Pass Right-to-Die Measure - September 11, 2015

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Right-to-Try Laws - Health policy brief from Health Affairs. - March 5, 2015
"Some states have passed legislation intended to expand access to experimental treatments for patients with serious or life-threatening conditions."

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Bill to End Organ Transplant Denials for Medical Marijuana Patients Filed in California - Article from The Daily Chronic. - February 12, 2015

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Historic Illinois Bill Helps Undocumented Migrants with Kidney Transplants - Article from CCTV-America. - September 29, 2014

Gov. Brown Blocks Bill To Limit Use of Biosimilars in California - October 13, 2013

California Assembly Passes Bill To Restrict Biosimilar Drug Use - Article from Bloomberg. - August 27, 2013

Bill To Empower Nurse Practitioners Divides Professional Organizations - Article from American Medical News. - August 26, 2013

Mississippi Legislature Passes ‘Anti-Bloomberg’ Bill - Posting from the Kaiser Health News blog. - March 11, 2013
"A bill on the governor’s desk would bar counties and towns from enacting rules that require calorie counts to be posted, that cap portion sizes, or that keep toys out of kids’ meals. “The Anti-Bloomberg Bill” garnered wide bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature in Mississippi, the state with the highest rate of obesity in the nation."

 

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  FIND YOUR LEGISLATORS

U.S. Representatives: You can locate your U.S. Representative

U.S. Senators: You can locate your U.S. Senators

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  FEDERAL LEGISLATION 114th CONGRESS (2015-2016)

HR 6 & S 849 - 21st Century Cures Act
To accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of 21st century cures, and for other purposes.

HR 379 & S 1205 - National Nurse Act of 2015
To designate the same individual serving as the Chief Nurse Officer of the Public Health Service as the National Nurse for Public Health.

HR 876 & S 1349 - NOTICE Act
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to require hospitals to provide certain notifications to individuals classified by such hospitals under observation status rather than admitted as inpatients of such hospitals.

HR 1088 & S 505 - Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 2015
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the Health Coverage Tax Credit.

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HR 1130 & S 598 - A bill to improve the understanding of, and promote access to treatment for, chronic kidney disease, and for other purposes

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HR 1342 & S 598 - Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to ensure more timely access to home health services for Medicare beneficiaries under the Medicare program, and for other purposes.

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HR 1470 & S 810 - SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2015
Repealing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) and improving Medicare payment for physicians' services.

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HR 1526 - Medicare Audit Improvement Act of 2015
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to modify policies relating to payment under the Medicare program for durable medical equipment, orthotics and prosthetics, and prosthetic devices, and for other purposes.

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HR 4266 & S 2408 - The Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act
To direct the Secretary of Labor to issue an occupational safety and health standard to reduce injuries to patients, nurses, and all other health care workers by establishing a safe patient handling, mobility, and injury prevention standard, and for other purposes.

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HR 4442 & S 2484 - CONNECT for Health Act
To amend titles XVIII and XI of the Social Security Act to promote cost savings and quality care under the Medicare program through the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services, and for other purposes.

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HR 5273 - Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for regulatory relief under the Medicare program for certain providers of services and suppliers and increased transparency in hospital coding and enrollment data, and for other purposes.

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HR 5284 - World's Greatest Healthcare Plan Act of 2016
To eliminate the individual and employer health coverage mandates under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to expand beyond that Act the choices in obtaining and financing affordable health insurance coverage, and for other purposes.

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HR 5344 - Organ Donation Clarification Act of 2016
To clarify that pilot programs that honor and reward organ donation are not preempted by Federal criminal law and that offering and accepting such benefits in accordance with a pilot program are not criminal acts.

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HR 5506 - Patient Access To Integrated-care, Empowerment, Nephrologists and Treatment Demonstration Act of 2016
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to establish a demonstration program to provide integrated care for Medicare beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease, and for other purposes.

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HR 5652 - Access to Better Care Act of 2016
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for coverage by high deductible health plans of medical management of a chronic disease without deductible.

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HR 5659 - To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act with respect to expanding Medicare Advantage coverage for individuals with end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act with respect to expanding Medicare Advantage coverage for individuals with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

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new HR 5942 - Dialysis Patient Access To Integrated-care, Empowerment, Nephrologists, Treatment, and Services Demonstration Act of 2016
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to establish a demonstration program to provide integrated care for Medicare beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease, and for other purposes.

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  LOBBYING AND LETTER WRITING

It is important to convince Senators and Representatives to cosponsor the bill through grassroots letters and lobbying.  A bill that has wide, bipartisan support in both the House and Senate has a better chance of being enacted into law. When the House and Senate leaders choose bills to include in a Medicare package, they will look for bills that have cosponsors from a variety of geographic locations, from both political parties, and support from Members on the Committees that have jurisdiction over the program being effected.

Do not e-mail your Member of Congress, but instead take the time to type or hand write a letter. ("Copy and paste" the sample letters to save time and then edit them appropriately.) It will get a much better response from your Senators and Representatives. Messages coming from the people who elected them really do receive the most attention and are an effective educational tool. 


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 CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES

Congress.gov - Legislative Information on the Internet from the Library of Congress

House of Representatives - Homepage

Senate - Homepage

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 OTHER RESOURCES

Advocacy & Government Relations from the National Kidney Foundation web site
Kidney Care Partners web site

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