Dialysis Patients, Chronic Disease Representatives, Renal Workers and Others Urge California Assembly Health to Oppose SB 1156 (Leyva)

Opponents of Senate Bill 1156 (Leyva) rallied outside the State Capitol today to urge the California Assembly Health Committee to protect dialysis and transplant patients from an insurer-backed bill that gives the insurance industry a backdoor way to drop low-income dialysis and transplant patients from their health insurance rolls.

The bill, which is opposed by a diverse range of chronic disease advocates, consumer groups and healthcare associations, has received virtually no media attention in California even though it threatens the health care coverage of thousands of Californians living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure. It targets patients who need charitable assistance to pay their health insurance premiums, erecting barriers that will make it difficult, if not impossible, for independent nonprofits like the American Kidney Fund (AKF) to help them. Without help from AKF, patients will not be able to afford their health insurance premiums, and insurers will then be able to drop them for non-payment.

“SB 1156 would cause profound harm to many of the nearly 67,000 Californians who depend on dialysis to stay alive,” said Holly Bode, vice president of government affairs for the American Kidney Fund. “The American Kidney Fund provides a charitable safety net to nearly 4,000 California dialysis and transplant patients who would otherwise be unable to afford their health care coverage. SB 1156 would take the option of charitable premium assistance away from the patients who need it most.” (read more)