Kidney PATIENT Act offered by Carter, Miller passes Ways & Means Committee

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee during a March 6 markup voted 41-1 to approve a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Carol Miller (R-WV) that would provide access to critical care and affordable oral medicines for chronic kidney disease patients.

In 2025, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is set to move oral-only drugs into the Medicare Part B End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) prospective payment system, which will threaten kidney disease patients’ access to life-saving medications and increase costs for dialysis treatments, according to Rep. Carter. The congressman in July 2023 sponsored the Kidney Patient Access to Technologically Innovative and Essential Nephrology Treatments Act of 2023, also known as the Kidney PATIENT Act of 2023, H.R. 5074.

If enacted, the bill would delay the CMS move until 2033 or until new intravenous therapies come to the market, ensuring that patients can access the drugs prescribed by their physician at an affordable rate without kneecapping further innovation, according to a bill summary provided by the congressman’s staff.

“We cannot let bureaucracy get in the way of patients’ health and well-being,” the congressman said when he proposed H.R. 5074. “As a pharmacist, I know just how important it is for patients, especially those with kidney disease, to be able to access and afford the medicine prescribed by their doctor. This is bipartisan, it’s been done before, and it will save taxpayer dollars.”

Rep. Carter sponsored H.R. 5074 with three original cosponsors, including Rep. Miller and lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH).

“I was thrilled to see the Kidney PATIENT Act pass nearly unanimously out of the Ways and Means Committee and be one step closer to becoming law,” Rep. Miller said last week. “This bill will provide patients with access to oral-only kidney disease therapies through their Medicare Part D benefit until 2027. 

“Bipartisan support of the Kidney PATIENT Act from the Ways and Means Committee shows how important it is to take care of ESRD patients across the country,” she added. “I look forward to the bill continuing to move forward in the House of Representatives.”

Specifically, H.R. 5074 would delay implementation of the inclusion of oral-only ESRD-related drugs in the Medicare ESRD prospective payment system.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will mark up H.R. 5074 on Tuesday along with 18 other bills.