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OPINION: The government wants to cut my life-saving dialysis care

Christina Esposito, photo courtesy KidneyLiving.com

Faces of the healthcare crisis

For Brooklyn Daily Eagle

I've had my kidney problem since I was 2 years old. I have been on dialysis almost 20 years now between having four kidney transplants. I currently do home hemodialysis while waiting on the national kidney transplant list, and I am very concerned over the recent proposal from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that would cut Medicare's payments for dialysis by 9.4 percent.

Earlier this month, the federal government proposed deep funding cuts to the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Program that funds my life-saving dialysis care. If these cuts are implemented, they would have a direct and negative impact on my life and the lives of more than 400,000 kidney failure patients like me who rely on dialysis care at least three times a week to survive.

This proposed budget cut to the ESRD Program may not even cover the cost of my care and will endanger the very existence of my dialysis center and others, making it much more difficult, if not impossible, for patients to receive the care they need.

I am very worried that, if finalized, this proposal could have devastating consequences on kidney patients. This drastic cut is a threat to patient access to quality of care and services. Dialysis facility closures and staffing reductions would be inevitable because Medicare payments simply would not cover the cost of care. CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule until August 30, so please write and call your members of Congress now about this matter.

So please write, call the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask to be connected to your legislators or sign the NKF petition!

I strongly urge you to reach out to your elected officials now, so that the voices of kidney patients can be heard! If is vitally important to get this proposal reconsidered. It is irresponsible to implement - let alone propose - such cuts. Please help me and your neighbors and loved ones who are living with kidney failure and urge Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer to oppose this funding cut.

Thank you,

Christina Esposito

Founder & Webmaster of KidneyLiving.com

Brooklyn, NY

* * *

Readers who can report on their own dealings with the healthcare crisis are invited to submit a letter to the Brooklyn Eagle. Please send submissions to letters@brooklyneagle.com

July 26, 2013 - 8:30am


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