By Monique Hardin-Cordero
During the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Greater New York’s 2017 Kidney Walk on Saturday, November 12th, I was stationed at the NKF tent. One of the many activities available for Walker was to share their opinions with their lawmakers about chronic kidney disease (CKD) policies and priorities such as the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 1270) and NKF’s CKD early detection and treatment legislation (H.R. 3867).
I had a diversity of people, including organ donors, recipients and supporters who came to my table. I can say without reservation that everyone who stopped by was very enthusiastic about making a difference through making their voices heard on Capitol Hill. Those not already familiar with NKF’s top priorities wanted to learn more about the legislation that we were promoting. They were particularly interested in the Living Donor Protection Act, which focused on preventing insurance companies from charging higher cost to, or denying, living donors for long term care, disability, or life insurance.
They wanted to make sure their voices, and most importantly, stories were heard. One Walker spoke about her mother being removed from insurance and the fight that followed with her trying to get reinstated. She was angry about how her mother had been treated and wanted to find a way to make a difference.
Others at the Walk spoke about the need to further promote early detection and treatment of kidney disease. Everyone impacted by kidney failure, whether they have it or know someone else who does, understands that if they had been tested earlier there would have been a real chance to have caught their CKD before their kidneys failed. More importantly, their doctor could have referred them to a nephrologist before their kidneys failed, who could have guided them towards treatments to slow the progression of their CKD.
I was heartened by the outpouring of support for NKF’s public policy priorities, which are every kidney patient’s priorities. I look forward to seeing the impact their voices and 160 letters will have on Congress, and seeing all the New York congressional delegation becoming sponsors of these important pieces of legislation.
I hope you will join us by adding your voice on these important priorities!