Congressional support continues to grow for a Living Donor Protection Act that would provide critical safeguards for kidney transplant donors nationwide, following NKF’s Virtual Patient Summit in early March, celebrations of Donate Life Month throughout April, and as more and more state legislatures across the country pass their own versions of this urgently needed legislation.
This bipartisan backing from both Senators and representatives in the House reflects the importance around prohibiting the denial or limitation of life, disability, and long-term care insurance to donors, as well as charging higher premiums. Moreover, the federal LDPA extends job security to living organ donors while they recover from donation, like the 16 that have already passed in state capitals, with more expected to follow in the next several weeks thanks to kidney patient and care partner advocates.
This progress is also a direct result of the strong momentum from Congress passing legislation providing prescription drug coverage for transplant patients on Medicare toward the end of last year. With waitlists lasting an average of three to five years, transplant patients stand to benefit from legislation that would further encourage donors, when the nearly 6,000 living donations that take place each year amount to just four out of every 10 donations. Kidney patients know that we can and must do better.
Moreover, kidney patients that receive transplants enjoy a better quality of life and incur less costly care than those that receive dialysis. A federal bill offering protections to those who choose to give the gift of life also provides a number of benefits for the federal government, particularly when Medicare spends twice as much on dialysis patients than it does on transplant patients.
NKF looks forward to providing additional opportunities for advocates to urge their federal lawmakers to join this effort if they haven’t already, as well as express appreciation to those that already have. As everyone who recognizes this month understands already, it’s more important than ever to encourage even more prospective donors to consider a transplant.