Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) introduced the Living Donor Protection Act of 2017, to protect the rights of living organ donors.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not specify that living organ donors can take unpaid leave to recover from their donation and does not guarantee that donors will have a job waiting for them after surgery. Further, according a 2007 study in the American Journal of Transplantation, as many as 11% of living organ donors experience difficulty securing or paying for insurance after their procedures because of discriminatory practices.
The Living Donor Protection Act would protect living organ donors and promote organ donation in three easy, low-cost ways:
1) Prohibits life, disability, and long term care insurance companies from denying or limiting coverage and from charging higher premiums for living organ donors;
2) Clarifies that living organ donors may use FMLA time to recover from the surgeries and procedures involved in their donation; and
3) Directs HHS to update their materials on live organ donation to reflect these new protections and encourage more individuals to consider donating an organ.
Representative Nadler and Representative Herrera Beutler issued the following joint statement announcing the introduction of the Living Donor Protection Act:
"Every year, thousands of Americans donate kidneys, livers, and other organs to save the lives of family members, friends, and even complete strangers facing life-threatening illnesses. Organ donation saves lives and saves money, cutting health care costs by as much as two-thirds and saving Medicare millions of dollars every year. The Living Donor Protection Act will ensure that Americans who make the life-saving choice to become organ donors won’t face economic roadblocks because of their decision. Under this bipartisan legislation, living organ donors will be able to access insurance and use the medical leave they need, giving donors more certainty and, it is our hope, encourage more Americans to give the incredible gift of organ donation."
The bill has support from numerous groups that advocate on behalf of organ transplantation, including endorsements by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Society of Transplantation, the National Kidney Foundation, the American Society of Nephrology, Waitlist Zero and the Renal Physicians Association.