Living Donor Protection Act
The Living Donor Protection Act was recently re-introduced for Congressional consideration by a bi-partisan group of representatives and senators. First proposed in 2012, the legislation aims to remove barriers faced by people considering living organ donation.
As drafted, the bill would:
Prevent life insurance policies, disability insurance policies, and long-term care insurance policies from limiting coverage, increasing costs of denying coverage to people based on their status as living organ donors alone.
Amend the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to clearly include recovery from organ donation among the conditions eligible for unpaid, job-protected medical leave from work.
Instruct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to update materials related to living organ donation in order to educate the public on the benefits and risks of living organ donation and its impact on access to insurance.
“Every day I see first-hand the difference donated kidneys make in the lives of my patients,” said transplant nephrologist Roslyn B. Mannon, MD, FASN. “Yet currently, living donors face too many barriers to provide this gift of life at a time when donating a kidney is more important than ever: 12 Americans die every day while waiting for a kidney transplant.”
Dr. Mannon serves as the Policy and Advocacy Committee Chair for the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), which reported that up to 20% of living donors have shared difficulties obtaining and maintaining life, disability, or long-term care insurance.
"Efforts to make living donation a financially-neutral event are vital to safely and responsibly advance opportunities for more healthy, willing persons to share the gift of life” added transplant nephrologist Krista L. Lentine, MD, PhD, FASN. Dr. Lentine also serves on the ASN Policy and Advocacy Committee.
“This bill is critical in removing barriers to living organ donation, prohibiting certain discrimination in insurance, and codifying protection for living donors under the Family and Medical Leave Act,” said Dr. Josh Levisky, President-Elect of the American Society of Transplantation.
"No human being should be forced to choose between becoming an organ donor to save another life and the real risk of losing current or future life or disability insurance coverage, and financial security, solely because of their selfless humanitarian act,” stated Edward V. Hickey, III, President of the American Association of Kidney Patients.
“Our patients with ESRD know the ideal pathway to a higher quality lifestyle is only through a kidney transplant,” said Dr. Keith Bellovich, President of the Renal Physicians Association. “Unfortunately, with only a limited number of deceased donor organs available, these courageous, committed and compassionate living donors serve as an invaluable key to longer and better quality of life for our patients. We cannot afford to allow any hardships from providing this altruistic gift become a barrier in the process. This bill acknowledges that our country honors our living donors and stands behind them in appreciation for their sacrifice."
Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York introduced the 2023 bill to the House of Representatives, with co-sponsorship from Representatives Troy Balderson of Ohio, Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, Jim Costa of California, John Curtis of Utah, Diana DeGette of Colorado, Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa, and Gregory F. Murphy, M.D., of North Carolina. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas introduced the senate bill. Additional elected officials in both houses have joined as co-sponsors of the legislation.
Organizations supporting the bill in 2023 include the American Association of Kidney Patients, American Council of Life Insurers, American Kidney Fund, American Liver Foundation, American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, American Society of Transplantation, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, Dialysis Patient Citizens, National Kidney Foundation, Renal Physicians Association, and the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation.