Medicare has covered transplant patients who had end-stage renal disease. But coverage ends after 36 months for those younger than 65.
African American, Latinx and Native American patients often wait longer for life-saving transplants – or never receive one at all because of barriers to care.
One reason for the shift, researchers said, is that hepatitis C, which used to be the leading cause of liver transplants, has become easier to treat with drugs.
Virtually all transplant centers require patients to verify how they will pay bills that can total $400,000 for a kidney transplant or $1.3 million for a heart.
Hospitals are using dramatic TV spots to attract lucrative patients into their hospitals as health care costs and industry competition escalate.
The rules, said to be proposed to reduce “burdensome” regulations, would no longer penalize hospitals if too many of their patients die following transplants.
New drugs that promise a cure for the 3.5 million Americans with chronic hepatitis also are benefiting another category of patients: those awaiting life-saving organ transplants.