Update: SB 384 was passed on Oct. 18 and is awaiting the governor's signature to officially become law.
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) advocates across the country on behalf of legislation that would improve the lives of people living with kidney disease. Recently, our advocacy work has brought us to Michigan again and again where two bills that would positively impact the kidney community are active, and we need your help to turn these bills into laws.
Michigan currently has an F on our Living Donor Protection Report Card, which grades states and the District of Columbia on how well their laws encourage living organ donation and reduce barriers for living donors. Passing either of these bills would make it easier for Michiganders to become desperately needed living organ donors. Nearly 24,000 people in Michigan are living with kidney failure – meaning they need to receive dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant to survive. In 2022, only 139 of the 610 kidney transplants performed were from living donors. Reducing barriers for people who want to become living organ donors means there would be more opportunities to save the lives of the 2,079 Michiganders who are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant today.
Here's what you need to know about the bills active in Michigan.
SB 384: Insurance protection for living organ donors
Senate Bill (SB) 384 was introduced by state Sen. Kevin Hertel and will prevent Michigan's life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living kidney donors. Now, insurance companies can raise premiums, terminate existing coverage or deny enrollment to living donors despite medical evidence that living donors are just as healthy as people who have not donated an organ. If passed, this bill will stop companies from declining coverage or charging higher premiums based on someone's status as a living organ donor.
HB 4361: Tax credits for living organ donors
When someone donates an organ, the recipient's insurance covers the donor's medical expenses. However, there are many non-medical costs that accumulate during the donation process, including travel, accommodations, lost wages and more. Introduced by Rep. Felicia Brabec (D), HB 4361 authorizes the state to grant a one-time, $5,000 tax credit for expenses accrued by organ donors that are not otherwise covered by insurance.
Help pass this bill by emailing your representative and asking them to support House Bill (HB) 4361 and become cosponsors.
How you can help
In addition to sending emails to your representatives asking for their support through the above links, you can also meet with your legislator in person to express your support. If you would like AKF to help you set up a meeting with your legislator to share your support for these important bills, please contact Jon Hoffman, AKF's senior director of state policy and advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help in your advocacy efforts, you can download these documents to help spread awareness or to take with you to a meeting with your legislator.
Every day, we lose 13 members of the kidney disease community who are waiting for a kidney transplant. There is a large shortage of organs available for transplantation. Legislation like these bills can lower the cost and potential burden for people who are willing to give the gift of life to a waiting transplant recipient. These changes will increase the pool of willing organ donors and reduce the list of Michiganders waiting for the most important call of their life. Act now and help AKF pass these critical bills.
AKF has been spending a lot of time in #Michigan where two bills that would positively impact the kidney community are active. Here's what you need to know about the bills, including how you can help turn them into laws: https://t.co/xpZFAnwFwp#KidneyAction#KidneyHealthForAllpic.twitter.com/XjepWNH1ro— AKF Advocacy (@AKF_Advocacy) September 28, 2023
#Michigan residents: The Michigan Living Donor Protection Act (SB 384), which would prohibit an insurer from discriminating against an individual based solely on the individual's status as a living donor, is being heard Thursday. Email your Representative: https://t.co/BNG0ITPLlupic.twitter.com/K9wePoZJSq— AKF Advocacy (@AKF_Advocacy) September 27, 2023