Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R), working alongside Minnesota Rep. Chellie Pingree (D), has introduced the John W. Walsh Alpha-1 Home Infusion act. The bipartisan effort “would allow Medicare beneficiaries struggling with the hereditary alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency condition… to receive essential augmentation infusions at home.”
The hereditary condition can lead to serious lung disease in adults, and it can also lead to liver disease in adults, children, or infants. However, FDA approved augmentation therapies combat the progression of the damage done to the lungs.
In a statement, Elvira Salazar praised the legislation, saying that “there is no doubt this small change in Medicare policy, which allows for the delivery of critical in home infusions as we continue adapting to new and wise public health advice, will have a significant impact on the Medicare beneficiaries who struggle with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency,” adding that the bill would “make life easier for people at high risk of developing lung and/or liver disease due to this rare genetic disease.”
Pingree echoed in her remarks, expressing that “during the pandemic, many immunocompromised Alpha-1 patients couldn’t access important therapies because of barriers to home infusion under Medicare, despite being safe and effective.”
She further championed the effort, calling it a measure “to ensure home infusions are a permanent benefit for Medicare beneficiaries who suffer from this rare disorder.”
Scott Santarella, the President and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation, also praised the bipartisan effort, saying that it “will cement the next step forward in improving the lives of Alphas for generations to come, alleviating the burdens that comes with a diagnosis” of the diseases.
Santarella affirmed that the Foundation has had an active role in the introduction of the bill, "so that neither age nor disability will interfere with the continuation of care when transitioning to the Medicare system."