The Corner

Health Care

CA Bill Could Restrict Access to Kidney Dialysis

A California kidney patient writes to warn that AB 290 could make kidney dialysis more difficult to access for thousands of patients that obtain charitable assistance to help pay for their care. From the column by Duc Dang:

I depend on a charitable financial grant from the nonprofit American Kidney Fund to help pay for my daily at-home dialysis. Without the grant, I cannot afford the treatment. Without the treatment, I will die. Assembly Bill 290, supported by California’s health insurance companies, will force AKF to cease operating its program in California, hurting me and the more than 3,700 Californians who rely on its financial assistance.


This is because provisions in AB 290 conflict with the strict federal guidelines under which AKF operates and, rather than risk its operations nationwide, AKF will simply stop offering assistance in California.

The bill has already passed the assembly and is heading for the Senate, which approved a nearly identical bill last year, eventually vetoed by Jerry Brown.

If the bill becomes law, it would force Dang onto Medicare, which doesn’t provide an equivalent benefit:

By forcing dialysis patients on to government-funded health care plans, AB 290 will threaten the long-term viability of dialysis clinics since government reimbursements don’t cover the cost of care. If dialysis clinics are forced to cut back services or close because they can’t cover their costs, patients will end up in emergency rooms where care is up to eight times more expensive. The health care system as a whole, and taxpayers, will bear the burden of higher costs.

Not surprisingly, AB 290 also allows insurance companies to pay less to dialysis providers as reimbursement for dialysis treatments. Of course that’s why the insurance industry is supporting the bill. But it doesn’t force insurers to pass any of their savings to consumers. A win-win for insurance companies, but not for patients.

If Dang is correct — and his position is echoed by patient advocacy groups — then the bill would make people with potential terminal kidney conditions less able to access care, effectively corroding hope — this in a state where many of these patients would also qualify legally for assisted suicide.

Now, that’s a real way to reduce healthcare costs! Good grief.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Resigns

Fox News Channel's chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network. “This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He ... Read More
NR Webathon

Don’t Let Michael Mann Succeed

I  enjoyed the running joke of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in the great Dickens novel Bleak House, back when I first read it. Little did I know that one day I and the magazine that I love would effectively be caught up in a version of that interminable case, courtesy of a litigious climate scientist with zero regard ... Read More
White House

What Is Impeachment For?

W hat is impeachment for? Seems like a simple question. Constitutionally speaking, it also appears to have a simple answer: to cite and remove from power a president guilty of wrongdoing. Aye, there’s the rub. What sort of wrongdoing warrants removal from power? I’d wager that the flames of ... Read More

Beto Proposes to Oppress Church with State

Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign is within the margin of error of non-existence, but in his failure he has found a purpose: expressing the Democratic id. His latest bid for left-wing love came at a CNN forum on gay rights, where he said that churches that oppose same-sex marriage should have to pay ... Read More