2022 was a very successful year in state advocacy for the American Kidney Fund (AKF) and our community of kidney disease advocates. With 14 laws passed and five proclamations signed across the country, major progress was made for people with kidney disease and their families. None of this success would have been possible without the work of our AKF Ambassadors.
Here are some highlights from our advocacy successes this year:
- Ten laws that provide protection or financial support for living organ donors passed in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Delaware (twice!), Nebraska, Georgia, Louisiana,Minnesota and New York. These bills accomplished a variety of important changes, including ensuring that living donors will not be discriminated against for donating a kidney by their life, disability or long-term care insurance and providing a tax credit incentive for organ and bone marrow donation. In the case of New York, the law passed at the end of December was a groundbreaking one, providing direct reimbursements of up to $10,000 to living organ donors for expenses associated with organ donation not covered by insurance. The bill is the first of its kind enacted in the nation and will help to remove financial barriers faced by potential donors who wish to make a lifesaving gift.
- Two states, Colorado and Virginia, passed laws that established a task force that either focuses on kidney disease specifically or as part of a broader health condition list. This will hopefully provide more funding and better laws and regulations to help people living with kidney disease in those states.
- Two states, Rhode Island and Vermont, passed legislation that gave people living with kidney failure access to Medigap, a supplemental insurance for people on Medicare that makes out-of-pocket expenses more manageable.
- There were also five states, Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Tennessee, that passed kidney disease awareness week proclamations.
As the year ends and we look forward to state legislative sessions in 2023, there is much to be excited about and plenty of opportunities to get engaged.
We will again be advocating for increased living organ donor protection in states across the country, pushing back against insurance discrimination and trying to encourage financial incentives.
(How well does your state protect living organ donors? Find out what grade your state has on AKF's Living Donor Protection Report Card.)
AKF also will be striving to make sure that people facing dialysis or other treatments that prevent them from working or put them in a precarious financial situation will have access to Medigap insurance to help make the costs more manageable.
We will continue to work to raise awareness about the severity and magnitude of kidney disease, which affects 37 million Americans, and ensure our legislators are pushing to improve the lives of all those who are impacted.
If you would like to join in these fights, be sure to sign up for our AKF Ambassador Network. Once you are part of the network, you will receive emails or text messages that alert you to opportunities to contact your legislators at the state and federal levels on potential legislation. You will also get invited to monthly webinars with AKF Government Affairs staff, giving you the latest information and opportunities to engage. AKF staff will also help you share your powerful stories so our elected officials can grasp why these issues are so vitally important.
Congratulations to all AKF Ambassadors on the successes in 2022! We hope we can count on you to join us again in 2023.