New York, NY - The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is calling on members of Congress to support the Living Donor Protection Act introduced in the House and Senate today.
The bill is designed to protect the rights of living donors and remove barriers to living organ donation. Specifically, the bill would end many forms of insurance discrimination facing living donors and extend job security through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to those who donate an organ.
“It’s unfortunate that even today we still see our nation’s living donors being denied insurance or having their premiums increased because they made a selfless decision to donate an organ to someone in need,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation. “This bill is an important first step to increase access to transplantation by removing the appalling barriers facing living kidney and liver donors. The National Kidney Foundation urges all members of Congress to support this bi-partisan legislation.”
In 2014, 17,108 kidney transplants were performed in the United States; however, more than 100,000 Americans are on a wait list for a kidney. An integral part of the nation’s organ donation system is living, altruistic donors, who account for approximately one-third of all the kidneys transplanted each year. Organizations like the National Kidney Foundation believe it is a priority to protect the rights of these donors.
The Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 4616) was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 25, 2016, by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) along with Representative Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX). An identical bill (S. 2584) was introduced in the Senate by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The bill prohibits insurance companies from denying or limiting life, disability and long-term care insurance and from charging higher premiums to living organ donors.
The bill also clarifies that living organ donors may use time granted through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to recover from transplant surgery. The bill also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to add information on these new protections to its materials to encourage more Americans to consider living donation.
“The National Kidney Foundation believes that donors should not bear any financial costs or hardships related to donation, nor should they suffer any discrimination as a result of their donation,” Longino said. “We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to address the issues that threaten our nation’s organ donors.”
All Americans can support the Living Donor Protection Act by contacting their representatives through NKF’s Advocacy Center. Urge your Senators and Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 4616 and S. 2584 to help protect the rights of living donors.
The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information, visit www.kidney.org.