By Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation
On Thursday, February 25th, 2016, the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 4616/S.2584), was introduced by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Representative Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX) in the House of Representatives, and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in the Senate. This bill will protect living organ donors and remove barriers to donation by prohibiting insurance companies from denying or limiting life, disability and long term care insurance to living donors, and from charging higher premiums. The bill also clarifies that living organ donors may use time granted through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to recover from donation.
Kidneys can be donated by a living individual in good health. The wait list for a kidney transplant is long and many individuals will die before ever receiving a kidney transplant. There are over 100,000 people waiting to receive a kidney transplant. In 2014, 17,108 kidney transplants were performed, one-third of which were made possible by living donors. Living donors make a substantial contribution to increasing the number of transplants performed each year.
Fear of lack of insurance protection, higher premiums, and loss of job are barriers for someone who wants to donate an organ. Many individuals have experienced higher premiums or denial of coverage insurance based solely on their status as a living organ donor. Additionally, while some employers allow individuals to take leave from work to donate an organ –there is no federal protection to ensure that organ donors do not lose their jobs when they take time off of work for the surgery and recovery.
The risks of living kidney donation are minimal and while long-term effects on donors need further study, most kidney donors go on to live normal healthy lives after organ donation. There is no medical evidence to suggest that insurance companies are at increased financial risk for covering living donors and therefore companies should not charge higher premiums nor deny or limit coverage just because the individual donated an organ.
If you would like to support the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 4616/S.2584), please contact your Representative and Senators. Those who are altruistic enough to donate a kidney to save another person’s life should not be discriminated and penalized by insurers or fear loss of their jobs.
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I support this Living Donor Protection Act!
Thanks with regards, Leong Seng Chen from Singapore with love.
” Putting the squeeze on kidney disease.”
As a K/P recipient I am blessed to be alive due to the priceless gift an organ donor. The Living Donor Protection Act ( H.R.1468/S.2584 ) is imperative in the fight to save the lives of the over 121,000 CKD patients currently on the wait list by protecting and supporting the living donors who are willing and capable of giving the gift of life. .
The Living Donor Protection Act is important not only for the reasons already mentioned in the NKF Advocacy Bulletin but the fact that a kidney donated by a living donor has two to three times the longevity of those donated by deceased donor. In simple terms a transplanted kidney from a deceased donor has a projected life span of 7 to 12 years while a kidney donated by a living donor can extend life two to three times beyond that life span.
As the number of living donors grow with the approval of the Living Donor Protection Act donated kidneys from a living donor will double or possibly triple the life expectancy for the kidney recipient.
In 2015 organ donation rose above 30,000 for the first time. As Kidney Warriors we can fight our battle from both ends of the transplant spectrum and ” put a squeeze on kidney diseases. ” The Living Donor Protection Act which will increase living organ donation combined with the overall increase in total kidney donation will create a two fold ripple effect for all those waiting for the gift of life.
Currently the best and most cost effective treatment for ESRD Is transplantation. By approving The Living Donor Protection Act we will reduce the need for dialysis time in addition to slowing the turn around for the need for a second costly, physically and emotion draining kidney transplant. It is a sad bit of commentary that some health insurers will slap a presumptive monetary penalty on people willing to gif such a priceless gift, The Gift of Life. We must help protect our living donors.
K/P Recipient 2009
People do unhealthy things to their bodies everyday- a person wanting to save someones life by donating something they can live without should not be penalized.
I support the Living Donar Act
I support this act as well !!!
These amazing individuals deserve to be proctected as they did not choose this life. God choosed it for them!