ROCKVILLE, Md. (April 22, 2022) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) commends Nebraska for enacting important protections for living organ donors through LB 863. With this signature from Gov. Pete Ricketts, a provision in LB 863 will prevent life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by charging them higher premiums or refusing to insure them altogether solely due to their status as an organ donor.
AKF thanks original bill sponsor, Sen. Dave Murman (District 38), and the Nebraska Legislature for passing protections for living donors in the state and their commitment to encouraging living organ donation.
"AKF is grateful to the Nebraska Legislature for taking steps to provide protections for living organ donors in the state and to Gov. Ricketts for his signature on LB 863," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "This legislation can save the lives of Nebraskans awaiting an organ transplant by prohibiting discrimination against living donors and allowing them to give the gift of life without worrying about whether they will be denied or charged more for insurance because of their selfless act."
AKF has been leading the nationwide effort to enact living donor protection legislation at the state level. By enacting LB 863, Nebraska joins the 23 other states that have provided living organ donors with these important protections in recent years, thanks to AKF's leadership on this issue.
Increasing living donor protections is a cornerstone of AKF's policy agenda. AKF's State of the States: Living Donor Protection Report Card measures seven types of legislation states should enact to provide protections for living organ donors and encourage living donations. In the absence of federal legislation to protect living donors, there is an uneven patchwork of protections across the nation, with some states providing no protections at all. LB 863 is the first protection for living donors signed into law in Nebraska, bumping up the state's grade from an F to a D. The average grade for the U.S. is a D.
Most transplanted organs are from deceased donors, but 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. Transplants from living donors generally present fewer complications than deceased donor transplants and living donor organs typically survive longer than deceased donor organs.
There are more than 106,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list and 92,000 of them, or 87%, are waiting for a kidney. In Nebraska, 194 people are currently on the kidney transplant waiting list. Of the 25,490 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2021, 1 out of 5 – 5,971 – were made possible by living organ donors. In Nebraska, 16 of 155 kidney transplants performed in 2021 were from living donors. AKF is hopeful that the protections in LB 863 will make it possible for a greater number of Nebraskans to become living donors.
AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income dialysis patients. In 2021, AKF grants helped 1,889 people nationwide receive kidney transplants — 7% of all kidney transplants performed in the United States last year. 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.