On February 14, 2019, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Congresswoman 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 to protect the rights of living organ donors.
Organ donation saves thousands of lives every year, but roadblocks remain that too often stop individuals from becoming living donors. Last year, after pressure from Congress, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a legal opinion stating that individuals who choose to donate an organ are covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Living Donor Protection Act would codify the DOL's guidance to protect living donors in the private and civil service sector, remove one of the largest barrier to organ donation, and provide certainty to donors and recipients.
Further, according a 2014 study in the American Journal of Transplantation, as many as 27% of living organ donors experience difficulty securing or paying for insurance after their procedures because of discriminatory practices. The Living Donor Protection Act prohibits life, disability, and long term care insurance companies from denying or limiting coverage and from charging higher premiums for living organ donors.
ASTS President Dixon B. Kaufman, MD, PhD, said, "Removing barriers to living donation is a critical part of expanding access to life-saving transplants for those suffering from end-stage organ disease. The American Society of Transplant Surgeons strongly supports this milestone legislation and applauds Senators Cotton and Gillibrand and Representatives Nadler and Herrera-Beutler for introducing it. The legislation targets two important impediments to organ donation: employment security and insurance coverage. Advancing this legislation will make a real difference for these individuals and their families."
To learn more, click here.