Press release

American Kidney Fund applauds introduction of California AB 1223 to prevent insurance discrimination against living organ donors and provide job-protected leave

Urges legislature to take swift action on a bill that could increase available organs for Californians on transplant waiting list

ROCKVILLE, Md. (February 22, 2019) – The nonprofit American Kidney Fund (AKF) commends California Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula on the introduction of AB 1223, a bill designed to remove obstacles for individuals who wish to be living organ donors. The bill provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave for living organ donation, and prohibits life, disability and long-term care insurance companies from denying or limiting coverage and from charging higher premiums for living organ donors.

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. Kidneys are the most common organ transplanted from living donors, followed by liver and lung.

In California today, 19,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list. Of the 2,557 kidney transplants performed in California in 2018, 26 percent (663) were from living donors. Nationally, 29 percent of the 22,000 kidney transplants in 2018 came from living donors.

AKF is fighting for legislation like AB 1223 in states across the country and at the federal level because each day, 13 people die while waiting for a kidney transplant. AB 1223 will remove roadblocks to people who are considering becoming living donors.

"We are grateful for Dr. Arambula's recognition of the role the legislature can play in making it easier for living donors to make the decision to give the lifesaving gift of an organ," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "The American Kidney Fund has been working to help get this bill introduced because we see every day how transplants transform the lives the patients we serve. Encouraging living donation and removing barriers to living donation are the surest ways to increase the supply of desperately needed kidneys."

AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income dialysis patients. In 2018, AKF helped more than 1,000 people nationwide have transplants, including nearly 50 in California. AKF's program helps post-transplant patients for their full insurance plan year, ensuring continuity of care.

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.

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