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Medicare Matters: Protecting Access to Transplants for Patients 65 Years & Older

During the last several years, scientific advances have expanded access to bone marrow and cord blood transplants to patients who are 65 years and older. Last year, more than 1,000 patients in this age group received a life-saving transplant.

For this group of patients, Medicare is their primary insurer. While Medicare has agreed to cover these transplants in some instances, the amount it pays hospitals does not cover the full cost of obtaining the cells for transplant or the services provided.



Appropriations Update

The Congress has demonstrated broad bipartisan support for Americans in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant through reauthorization of the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program (Program) and National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI). We are now asking that the Congress continue its commitment by appropriating additional funds to the programs that the National Marrow Donor Program, which operates Be The Match, runs on behalf of the government.

Increasing appropriations from the current level of $22 million to the fully authorized funding of $30 million for the Program would allow Be The Match to recruit an additional 80,000 new donors to expand the genetic diversity of the registry. Increasing appropriations from $12 million to the fully authorized $23 million for the NCBI would allow cord blood banks to collect an additional 7,337 new cord blood units. Each new donor or cord blood unit gives hope to someone in need of a life-saving transplant. 

Help us ask the Congress to fully fund the Program and NCBI.

Act Now


Advocate Profile

Howie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Auguest 2001, less than one year after he got married. His only hope for a cure was a marrow transplant. Howie was adopted, native to the Azores Islands, which made his search for a donor a little more difficult. Despite having a diverse heritage, Howie had six perfect cord blood matches and was the first adult to receive a cord blood transplant in Oklahoma. 

Howie relapsed and received a second cord blood transplant in 2003, making him the first adult in the state to receive two cord blood transplants. Howie and his wife, Kimberly, are enthusiastic supporters of Be The Match and have attended multiple Legislative Days in Washington D.C., gaining support of the programs that the National Marrow Donor Program operates.

Howie was again able to join us on Capitol Hill earlier this month to talk with the Congress about the importance of continued funding for the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program. He was also excited to share that he was being featured on Oklahoma News 9 as part of a story on a new public cord blood bank opening in the area.

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