- Legislators have reintroduced a bill that would provide job protection for organ donors.
- The bill also targets insurance companies that deny coverage to organ donors.
A bill aimed at eliminating discrimination against individuals who are turned down for life, disability and long-term care insurance because they are organ donors has been reintroduced in Congress.
The Living Donor Protection Act of 2023 is similar to previous versions of the bill, which was first introduced in 2012, according to Healio/Nephrology News & Issues sources, and is sponsored this year by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY.
Along with requiring insurance companies to provide living organ donors with equitable access to insurance policies, the bill would codify existing Department of Labor protections for living donors under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. Under the FMLA, living organ donation would also be defined as a serious health condition for private and civil service employees, guaranteeing job security for the living donor who takes time off for the donation process and surgery.
“We must do more to remove the barriers that keep Americans from life-saving organ donations,” Gillibrand said in a press release. “The bipartisan Living Donor Protection Act would help ensure that individuals who are willing to save someone’s life through organ donation can do so without worrying that they’ll face harsh repercussions, like insurance discrimination or job loss. Enshrining these protections for donors will help save lives, and I will keep working with my colleagues across the aisle to finally pass this commonsense legislation.”
“Red tape shouldn’t prevent organ donors from giving someone a new chance at life,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR, a supporter of the bill, said in the release. “This legislation will encourage more donors to volunteer by protecting them from denial of coverage, higher insurance premiums and job loss.”
Nadler, a sponsor of the original bill, said, “These roadblocks can make it economically impossible for potential donors to make that choice and, simply put, they are costing lives … I’m proud to introduce the Living Donor Protection Act to bring awareness to this issue and knock down these needless barriers to lifesaving organ donation.”
Twenty-nine state legislatures have passed versions of the Living Donor Protection Act, most recently in Wyoming, according to the National Kidney Foundation. “Other states are enacting policies that provide paid leave, tax credits, and other protections to promote living donation,” according to a release from the NKF.
“Every day I see first-hand the difference donated kidneys make in the lives of my patients,” Roslyn B. Mannon, MD, FASN, policy and advocacy committee chair for the American Society of Nephrology and a transplant nephrologist, said in a press release. “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. I applaud the sponsors of the Living Donor Protection Act for ensuring the ability of living donors to obtain insurance and retain employment are no longer obstacles to organ donation.”