In a groundbreaking announcement, music legend Al B. Sure! and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton have joined forces to launch the “Health Equity in Transplantation Coalition.”
This coalition aims to challenge Medicare cutbacks for crucial blood tests detecting early signs of organ rejection, particularly affecting minority and underserved communities.
Press Conference Unveils Health Equity in Transplantation Coalition
At a press conference scheduled for December 5, 2023, on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Al B. Sure!, a liver transplant recipient and renowned recording artist, will serve as the “Executive Chairman,” with Rev. Al Sharpton as the “Senior Advisor.”
The primary objective of the coalition is to reverse the restrictive March 2, 2023, Medicare coverage changes for transplant patient blood tests.
A Disproportionate Impact on Minority Communities
The sudden announcement by a Medicare private contractor to link Medicare coverage to invasive surgical biopsies has disrupted the surveillance use of vital blood tests.
This change disproportionately affects Black, Hispanic, and underserved transplant communities.
Al B. Sure! emphasizes the importance of maintaining Medicare coverage for these tests, enabling underserved transplant recipients to conduct them at home rather than opting for invasive biopsies.
Rev. Sharpton echoes these sentiments, stressing that the non-invasive tests served as a lifeline for minority communities, and it’s time to reverse the decision made in March 2023.
Critical Need for Organ Transplant Care
With Black and Hispanic Americans representing 40 percent of transplants in the U.S., the coalition emphasizes the critical need for organ transplant care in these communities. Half of all kidney transplants fail within 10 years, highlighting the urgency for innovation and improved care. The organ shortage in the U.S., especially affecting Black and Hispanic Americans, adds complexity to the issue.
National Opposition and Advocacy
The coalition aligns with the nationwide opposition from transplant patients and medical communities, supported by letters from prominent organizations such as the American Association of Kidney Patients and leading transplant medical associations.
Additionally, bipartisan congressional leaders have expressed concerns about the March 2023 rollbacks, emphasizing the need for transparency in such decisions.
A Call for Congressional Support
Al B. Sure! and Rev. Sharpton hope to garner support from organizations like the House Congressional Black Caucus to restore Medicare coverage to pre-March 2023 levels.
The coalition plans to engage in various activities from December 4-6, bringing transplant recipients to Washington, D.C., for meetings with congressional leaders and a press conference on December 5, 2023.
This coalition marks a significant step towards advocating for health equity in transplantation and ensuring that vital medical tests remain accessible to all, regardless of background or socioeconomic status.
Black Wall St. MediaContributor