National Kidney Foundation Applauds Congressional Champions for Legislation to Protect Living Organ Donors

New York, NY—February 14, 2019—Today, four bi-partisan Members of Congress introduced legislation to protect living organ donors and remove barriers to donation. Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) joined by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced The Living Donor Protection Act of 2019. Under this act, insurance companies are prohibited from denying or limiting life, disability and long-term care insurance to living donors and from charging higher premiums.  In addition, The Living Donor Protection Act of 2019 will ensure job protections for organ donors who need to take medical leave for organ donation and recovery after surgery.
The National Kidney Foundation encourages the public to ask Congress to support the Living Donor Protection Act by emailing and tweeting their legislators.
“Today, four champions in Congress stood up for organ donors and for the 100,000 Americans waiting on a kidney transplant,” said Kevin Longino, Chief Executive Officer, National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient.  “The National Kidney Foundation is proud to have worked closely with these Congressional champions on the Living Donor Protection Act and we applaud them for their willingness to reach across the aisle to help protect living donors and reduce some of the barriers to donation.”
On January 11, 2019 the National Kidney Foundation released a comprehensive position statement, “A Path Forward to Increasing Kidney Transplantation” which calls on Congress and the Administration to make organ transplantation a top priority and identified several critical areas to be addressed from a legislative and regulatory standpoint, including the reintroduction and passage of The Living Donor Protection Act.
“We look forward to working with Congressman Nadler, Congresswoman Herrera Beutler, Senator Gillibrand and Senator Cotton in passing the Living Donor Protection Act and we will rally our grassroots to further advance this important legislation,” added Longino.
National Kidney Foundation Living Donor Resources:
THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE platform, which provides nationwide outreach, is designed to increase kidney transplantation through training and tools that help patients and families find a living donor. It includes direct patient and caregiver support through our toll free help line 855-NKF-CARES, peer mentoring from a fellow kidney patient or a living donor, online communities, an advocacy campaign to remove barriers to donation, and a multi-media public awareness campaign. All resources are free and designed to teach kidney patients, or their advocates, how to make a “big ask” to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a “big give,” a living organ donation.
About Kidney Disease
In the United States, 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
Nearly 680,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 475,000 ESRD patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function.  Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now.  Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.   Living organ donation not only saves lives, it saves money. Each year, Medicare spends $87,000 per dialysis patient and less than half, $32,500, for a transplant patient.
 The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about NKF, visit