ROCKVILLE, Md. (June 3, 2022) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) commends Minnesota for making living organ donor protections state law with HF 1829/SF 1450. With yesterday's approval from Gov. Tim Walz, HF 1829/SF 1450 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 due to their status as an organ donor.
AKF worked closely with the bill's patron, Sen. Sandra L. Pappas (SD-65), as well as Sen. Paul Utke (SD-02), Rep. Kaohly Vang Her (HD-64A) and Rep. Debra Kiel (HD-01B) to spearhead the legislation and is thankful for their commitment to enacting protections for living donors in the state. AKF has been leading the nationwide effort to protect living donors through state legislation. By enacting HF 1829/SF 1450, Minnesota joins the 27 other states that have provided living organ donors with these important protections in recent years, thanks to AKF's leadership on this issue.
"Thank you to Gov. Walz, Sen. Pappas and the rest of the Minnesota Legislature for protecting Minnesotans who make the decision to become living organ donors through HF 1829/SF 1450," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "By ending discrimination against living donors, this law will help reduce barriers for people to selflessly donate an organ, ultimately saving the lives of Minnesotans awaiting an organ transplant."
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. HF 1829/SF 1450 is the fourth protection for living donors signed into law in Minnesota, keeping the state's grade at a B. The average grade for the U.S. is 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 more than 106,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list and 92,000 of them, or 87%, are waiting for a kidney. In Minnesota, 2,207 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 Minnesota, 255 of the 574 kidney transplants performed in 2021 were from living donors. AKF is hopeful that the protections in SF 1450/HF 1829 will make it possible for a greater number of Minnesotans 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.