ROCKVILLE, Md. (Nov. 8, 2023) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) commends Michigan for making living organ donor protections state law with SB 384, signed on Nov. 7 by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. SB 384 will go into effect Jan. 1, 2024, and prohibits life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by refusing to insure them, limiting their coverage or charging them a different rate or premium based solely on their status as a living organ donor.
The bill was introduced by state Sen. Kevin Hertel and sponsored by Sens. Ruth A. Johnson, Mallory McMorrow, Sean McCann, Erika Geiss, Stephanie Chang, Paul Wojno, Sue Shink, Veronica Klinefelt, Rosemary Bayer and Sylvia Santana. AKF wrote a letter in favor of SB 384 and helped mobilize support for the bill in Michigan, with advocates Dr. Mona Doshi, head of transplant nephrology at the University of Michigan Health System, and David Galbenski, a liver transplant recipient, testifying in front of the state's House Health Policy Committee. By enacting SB 384, Michigan joins 31 other states that have passed similar legislation in recent years ensuring living organ donors have these vital protections, thanks to AKF's efforts on this issue.
"Living kidney donors take a tremendously selfless action and should not be punished for stepping up to give the gift of life," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "We are grateful to Sen. Hertel and everyone who championed this bill, as their efforts will remove barriers to becoming a living organ donor, which will in turn help meet an overwhelming need."
Increasing living donor protections is a critical part 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. The average grade for the U.S. is a C. In addition to passing living donor protections, the Office of the State Employer in Michigan recently announced that eligible state employees can now receive up to 60 calendar days of paid leave to recover from an eligible organ donation, and up to 30 calendar days to recover from a bone marrow donation. With this change and Michigan's SB 384 signed into law, its grade improves from an F to a C.
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 nearly 104,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list and over 90,000 of them, or 87%, are waiting for a kidney. In Michigan, 2,101 people are currently on the kidney transplant waiting list. Of the 26,310 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2022, approximately 1 out of 5 – 5,864 – were made possible by living organ donors. In Michigan, 136 of the 583 kidney transplants performed in 2022 were from living donors.
AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income dialysis patients. In 2022, AKF grants helped 1,767 people nationwide receive kidney transplants — roughly 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.