Update on federal and state legislation to support living donors

Legislation that would protect living organ donors from discrimination and encourage organ donation has been reintroduced this year in the U.S. Congress. In the House of Representatives, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA) have introduced H.R. 1224, the Living Donor Protection Act of 2019. In the Senate, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced a companion bill, S. 511. The legislation would:

  • Ensure living organ donors are not denied or given limited coverage or higher premiums for life, disability and ling-term care insurance.
  • Codify in law that living organ donors can use the Family and Medical Leave Act to take time off from work to recover from donation surgery.
  • Direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review and update its public materials to educate people on the benefits of live organ donation and inform them of the two statutory changes made by the legislation.

In addition to the federal legislation, several states this year have introduced and advanced bills that mirror the Living Donor Protection Act in protecting living donors from insurance discrimination and providing job-protected leave to recover from donation surgery. AKF has been very active in advocating for the introduction of these bills in state legislatures. The following is a summary of states that have introduced or advanced a living donor protection bill this year:

  • States that have introduced a bill: California, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont
  • States with a bill that has been heard or passed in committee or has passed in one legislative chamber: Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, Oklahoma
  • States that have passed and signed a bill into law: Arkansas

There are nearly 114,000 people in the United States on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Most of those people -- 83 percent -- need a kidney. And of the 21,000 kidney transplants performed last year, only about a third of them were from living donors. The American Kidney Fund (AKF) strongly supports legislation that would support living donors and encourage organ donation. If you would like to take action on legislation that supports living organ donors, please click here.

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