The bipartisan Congressional Kidney Caucus was founded by Representatives Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in March, 2002. The purpose of the caucus is to educate Members of Congress and the public about the problem kidney disease poses for our society and to educate Members of Congress and the public about the federal government's singular role in providing access to life sustaining treatment for those Americans with the severest form of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), stage 5 CKD. Twenty-six million Americans suffer from kidney disease and another twenty million are at risk. The Kidney Caucus provides a forum for the discussion of quality of care and life issues, acts as a resource on the scope and impact of kidney disease, and serves as a source of information on public policy initiatives to aid individuals with Chronic Kidney Disease and irreversible kidney failure.

Renal replacement, either dialysis or transplant, is used by over 550,000 Americans to manage their stage 5 CKD. The Kidney Caucus recognizes the historic and preeminent role of Medicare and Medicaid in funding the provision of stage 5 CKD treatment. The Kidney Caucus recognizes that one in seven adult Americans have early stages of CKD and an additional one in seven are at risk of developing diminished kidney function. It is the hope of the Kidney Caucus that all members of Congress and their constituents understand that this common and harmful disease is treatable.