American Kidney Fund Applauds Arkansas Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee Unanimous Vote on Bill to Protect Living Organ Donors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ROCKVILLE, Md. (February 15, 2019) —The American Kidney Fund (AKF) applauds the Arkansas Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee for its unanimous vote in support of SB 309, a bill that could help increase the availability of organs for transplant from living donors. AKF is grateful to Senator Mark Johnson for sponsoring the bill.

If passed, this bill would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against living organ donors by charging higher premiums or refusing to insure them altogether. SB 309 will move to the full Arkansas Senate for a vote.

While most transplanted organs are from deceased donors, patients may also receive organs from living donors. Living donation offers an alternative for individuals awaiting transplantation from a deceased donor and increases the existing organ supply. More than 6,400 living-donor kidney transplants were performed last year in the United States, including just eight in Arkansas.  Kidneys are the most common organ transplanted from living donors, followed by liver and lung.

Nationwide, more than 114,000 Americans are on the waiting list for organ transplants, including nearly 97,000 who are waiting for a kidney. In Arkansas, 208 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list.

“This bill sends an unequivocal message of support to living organ donors and all those who may be considering making this lifesaving gift in Arkansas, and we hope it will receive similar support in the Arkansas Senate as it did in Committee,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “Removing barriers and encouraging living donation is simply good public policy.”

AKF encourages all Arkansas lawmakers to support this important bill.