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

As the nation’s leading independent nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. AKF holds the highest ratings from the nation’s charity watchdog groups, including Charity Navigator, which includes AKF on its “top 10” list of nonprofits with the longest track records of outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar, and GuideStar, which has awarded AKF its Platinum Seal of Transparency.

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