Press release

American Kidney Fund urges Congress to make 2019 the year Living Donor Protection Act becomes law

Applauds bipartisan Members of House and Senate who introduced Living Donor Protection Act of 2019

ROCKVILLE, Md. (February 19, 2019) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to come together to enact the Living Donor Protection Act of 2019, landmark legislation that will protect living organ donors from insurance discrimination and ensure their jobs are protected.

Introduced on February 14 — National Donor Day — in the House by U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., and in the Senate by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., the Living Donor Protect Act of 2019 would prohibit life, disability and long-term care insurance companies from denying or limiting coverage and from charging higher premiums for living organ donors; amend  the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to specifically include living organ donation as a serious health condition for private and civil service employees; and direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to update its materials on live organ donation to reflect these new protections and encourage more individuals to consider donating an organ.

"Last year more than 6,400 living Americans donated organs to family members, friends, colleagues and even total strangers. The need is enormous — 114,000 Americans today are in desperate need of a lifesaving organ transplant," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "Some states have enacted protections for living donors, and more are doing so. But it's time to make saving lives through living donation a national priority and get this bill through Congress and signed into law."

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.
"The Living Donor Protection Act of 2019 is good public policy that benefits patients, donors and taxpayers," Burton said. "Medicare spends nearly $90,000 per year for each patient on hemodialysis, and $34,000 per year for a patient after their kidney transplant. Encouraging living donation that could increase the supply of kidneys for Americans living with end-stage renal disease isn't just a humanitarian gesture; it's also smart fiscal policy."

In 2018, financial assistance from the American Kidney Fund helped more than 1,000 low-income dialysis patients have kidney transplants.

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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