KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Kidney Drug Plan Divides Transplant And Dialysis Supporters

The New York Times: "A Congressional proposal to help pay for drugs needed by transplant recipients to prevent rejection of donated kidneys has run into opposition from dialysis providers, drug companies and the National Kidney Foundation." The groups support extending Medicare drug coverage but say the measure would cut funding for dialysis. "The proposal has created a rift between those in the business of providing dialysis and those in the business of performing transplants. The discord is being felt on Capitol Hill, and supporters of the measure fear it may make it easy for Congress to kill the provision altogether in the late stages of negotiation." Meanwhile, the House health overhaul bill "includes a provision that would provide Medicare coverage for immunosuppressant drugs for all beneficiaries for life, starting in 2012." But the issue is currently not addressed in the Senate health bill, though "the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, last week submitted an amendment that replicates the House language, giving the provision a badly needed lift" (Sack, 12/14). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.