The Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers (FACT) has joined the Dialysis is Life Support coalition, an alliance of taxpayer groups, business groups, physicians, patients, dialysis providers and community groups opposed to AB 290 (Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg).
AB 290 sets government price caps on what insurance companies pay for dialysis care, below the cost of care. It slashes payments made by private insurers to dialysis clinics for patients who receive charitable premium assistance to help pay their insurance premiums. And it also sets these payments at the federal Medicare rate, which will not cover the cost of providing care.
“No business can afford to keep its doors open if reimbursements do not cover the cost of care,” said FACT president Jack Dean, regarding the group’s participation in the coalition. “If dialysis clinics can’t cover their costs, they will be forced to cut back services or close, forcing dialysis patients to seek treatment in hospital emergency rooms at a much higher cost.”
Dialysis is the process by which a machine does the job of the kidneys to filter toxins and fluids from the body. Dialysis patients must get treatment three days a week for three to four hours at a time, to stay alive. Missing just one dialysis treatment increases the risk of death by 30 percent.
The only provider of charitable premium assistance for kidney patients, the American Kidney Fund, has said that if AB 290 passes it would not be able to operate in California. If AKF cannot help patients afford their insurance coverage, the bill will force low-income dialysis patients — those who receive charitable premium assistance — off private insurance and onto taxpayer-funded government coverage.
FACT is opposed to more government rate-setting that will simply drive up the cost of healthcare for all taxpayers.
To see the complete list of coalition members, please click here.