Coalition of doctors, patients, dialysis caregivers denounce Assembly passage of AB 290 (Wood)

May 22, 2019

Bill puts insurance company profits ahead of dialysis patient needs

SACRAMENTO – The Dialysis is Life Support coalition, a coalition of doctors, hospitals, dialysis patients and caregivers, business and community groups, today denounced Assembly passage of AB 290. The statement below can be attributed to Kathy Fairbanks, spokesperson for the coalition:

“Today’s narrow passage of AB 290 in the Assembly puts insurance companies one step closer to maximizing their profits while putting vulnerable dialysis patients in California at risk.

“Short term, AB 290 directly threatens the financial security of nearly 4,000 dialysis patients in California. If AB 290 is enacted, the non-profit American Kidney Fund has stated it will be forced to stop providing assistance to patients in California, driving up the cost of care for low-income patients who rely on financial grants from the organization.

“Long term, AB 290 threatens dialysis clinic access for the more than 70,000 dialysis patients in California where dialysis clinics have some of the highest government quality ratings in the country. Shifting even a few patients from private insurance to government programs upsets the dialysis ecosystem and will reduce funding to dialysis clinics across the state.

“Demand for dialysis in California is growing at about 5 percent a year over the next 10 years. California must build approximately 350 new clinics to meet that demand. If AB 290 passes, existing clinics could be forced to cut back or close, and certainly, there is a risk that no new ones will be built. Many California patients will have no choice but to dialyze in hospital emergency rooms at much higher cost to the health care system and taxpayers.

“AB 290 discriminates against low-income dialysis patients under the guise of lowering health care costs yet it includes no provision to mandate that insurers pass along savings to consumers.

“Our coalition of doctors, hospitals, dialysis patients and caregivers, business and community groups and many others will be working very hard in the Senate to protect vulnerable dialysis patients and ensure AB 290 is defeated.”

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