December 4, 2023
Al Sharpton and Al B. Sure! are teaming up to persuade the Biden Administration to overturn Medicare cutbacks for blood tests.
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton has partnered with music artist Al B. Sure! on an initiative they hope will persuade the Biden administration to overturn proposed Medicare cutbacks. The pair launched the Health Equity in Transplantation Coalition (HETC) to reverse the decision to no longer provide coverage for transplant recipients in need of live-saving blood tests, Fox News reports.
The Biden administration confirmed the cutbacks in March, resulting in restrictions on access to non-invasive post-transplant testing for patients who have had lung, heart, and kidney transplants. The tests were previously insured since 2017.
“We have to reverse this decision,” Al B! Sure said. “Joe Biden does have the power to reverse this. So, we are asking everyone to come together in unison, to really put forth an effort to just hone in and focus on listening.” The musician has a vested interest in this care as he underwent a liver transplant in 2022, which renewed his lease on life. This transplantation community is a community that has no prejudice because, you know, liver disease and things of that nature, or heart disease and kidney disease, there’s no prejudice,” he said. “This is not about politics.”
Proving that the issue is bipartisan, Republican politician Newt Gingrich has also joined forces alongside Al Sharpton and the “Night and Day” singer, Fox News reports. “I have a brother and a sister who both had lung transplants. I have a sister-in-law who had a liver transplant. So, I know firsthand the complexities and the importance of constant monitoring. All three of them, thank God, are doing very, very well,” Gingrich said. “The ability to monitor and catch any problems very, very early is important both to the health of the patient, but is also dramatically less expensive than having something start to go really bad and having to have a significant intervention.”
The decision to cut back coverage was made by a private Medicare administrative company who claimed the tests were being run improperly. Black, Hispanic, Latino, and underserved communities were given a lifeline with these non-invasive tests. That was taken away in March 2023, when a private company decided Medicare would no longer cover this life-saving measure for transplant recipients, who overwhelmingly come from these communities,” Sharpton said.
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