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Representatives Nadler, Balderson, Blunt Rochester, Costa, Curtis, DeGette, Miller-Meeks, Murphy, Senators Gillibrand and Cotton Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Protect Organ Donors

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH), Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), Congressman John Curtis (R-UT), Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Congressman Gregory F. Murphy, M.D. (R-NC), and joined by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), introduced the Living Donor Protection Act to protect the rights of living organ donors.


Organ donation saves thousands of lives every year, but unnecessary red tape often stops individuals from becoming living donors. 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. Amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to specifically include living organ donation as a serious health condition for private and civil service employees; 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.


“When an organ donor decides to donate one of their organs to someone else, they aren’t just saving someone’s life—they’re making one of the most selfless, difficult decisions anyone could ever make. The last thing they need in the midst of that challenging process is to be confronted by needless roadblocks or insurance discrimination,” said Representative Nadler. “These roadblocks can make it economically impossible for potential donors to make that choice and, simply put, they are costing lives. April is National Donate Life Month, and 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."


“We must do more to remove the barriers that keep Americans from life-saving organ donations," said Senator Gillibrand. "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."


“A close family friend of mine is a kidney transplant recipient, saved through the blessing of organ donation,” said Representative Balderson. “I am proud to be among the 52 percent of Ohioans registered to donate the gift of life. This bipartisan legislation is about offering hope for the more than 100,000 Americans - and their loved ones - awaiting their lifesaving transplant.”


“Being an organ donor saves lives and Congress should do everything in our power to ensure that those who have chosen selflessly to be a donor are not penalized,” said Representative Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the bipartisan and bicameral Living Donor Protection Act.”


“Donating an organ is a selfless act and Congress should ensure that generous individuals making a living donation are not penalized,” said Representative Costa. “As Co-Chair of the Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Awareness Caucus, I’m proud to support the Living Donor Protection Act to remove barriers to organ donations and help save lives."


“Donating a kidney – and saving a life – is an admirable thing for someone to do," said Representative Curtis. "Under no circumstances should an individual be denied insurance coverage because of this surgery and I am proud to work with folks in Utah, particularly Bruce Tippets in Vernal for his advocacy in the patient community and for bringing this to my attention and fix this oversight.” 


“The decision to become a living organ donor is one of the most difficult decisions a person can make," said Representative DeGette. "We should be doing everything we can to help those who are willing to step up to help someone else in need. This legislation will provide our living organ donors the protections they deserve and ensure no one is ever punished for providing the gift of life to someone else.”


“Donating an organ is a selfless sacrifice, and our legislation will ensure these donors aren’t met with unnecessary burdens which can deter, or event prevent, someone from going through with a procedure,” said Representative Miller-Meeks. “In implementing these protections, our hope is to make it easier for donors who are eager to help save lives.”


“I am proud to reintroduce the Living Donor Protection Act today with my colleagues," said Representative Murphy. "As a former transplant surgeon, I know the importance of supporting living organ donors who have sacrificed to help their fellow man. This legislation would break down barriers for individuals who want to make the selfless choice to give others another chance at life.”


"Red tape shouldn’t prevent organ donors from giving someone a new chance at life," said Senator Cotton. "This legislation will encourage more donors to volunteer by protecting them from denial of coverage, higher insurance premiums, and job loss.”


"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. We thank Congressman Nadler and all bipartisan co-sponsors for responding to the real world experiences of organ donors, transplant recipients and patients awaiting a life-saving organ transplant by offering legislation that protects living organ donors and removes a long-standing barrier to greater donation." - Ed Hickey, President of the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP)


“People who give a part of themselves so that someone else can live represent the best of us. They not only deserve praise and gratitude, but they also deserve to be protected for their altruistic act. The Living Donor Protection Act ensures that these donors will have the same access to life, long-term care, and disability insurance as everyone else and will remove barriers related to taking time off from work, ultimately allowing for more living organ donations. The American Kidney Fund fully supports this legislation, and we are hopeful for swift enactment.”- LaVarne A. Burton, President and CEO of the American Kidney Fund


“The American Liver Foundation applauds the reintroduction of the Living Donor Protection Act by Congressman Nadler. This legislation will offer much needed protections for living donors who are considering donating a portion of their liver to help save another person's life. We urge Congress to pass this act and provide a vital safeguard for those individuals who step up to provide the gift of life. We thank Congressman Nadler for his leadership on this crucial issue." - Lorraine Stiehl, CEO of the American Liver Foundation


“ASN commends the re-introduction of the Living Donor Protection Act, vital legislation which will remove barriers that discourage living donors from providing the life-saving gift of a kidney transplant. Living donors deserve more support than the current system provides for them, ASN believes the Living Donor Protection Act is a critical first step to achieve this goal.”- Michelle Josephson, President, American Society of Nephrology


“On behalf of the thousands of transplant surgeons we represent, we eagerly applaud these Congressional leaders for introducing the Living Donor Protect Act (LDPA).”  Chapman added, “As a stalwart champion of LDPA since its inception and an instrumental group in recent improvements to the legislation, ASTS knows that now is the perfect time for Congress to enact into law these commonsense employment and insurance protections to assist living donors in giving others the gift of life.” Will Chapman, MD, President of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS)


“On behalf of the American Society of Transplantation (AST), representing a majority of the nation’s medical professionals engaged in the field of solid organ transplantation, the Society commends Reps. Nadler, Costa, Curtis, Balderson, DeGette, Miller-Meeks, and Murphy on introducing the Living Donor Protection Act (LDPA).  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 (FMLA).  The AST strongly supports and endorses the LDPA legislation as well as the steadfast leadership and support of Reps. Nadler, Curtis, Balderson, Miller-Meeks, and Murphy.”  Dr. Josh Levisky, MD, MS, FAST, FAASLD, American Society of Transplantation President-Elect


"There is a critical shortage of deceased organs for transplant in this country. To fill that gap, Congress must do everything possible to promote living donation. We applaud our Congressional champions for reintroducing the Living Donor Protection Act and for recognizing the critical need to support living organ donors." Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a transplant recipient


“The PKD Foundation applauds our bipartisan champions in Congress for re-introducing the Living Donor Protection Act (LDPA). For people with polycystic kidney disease, transplant is the gold standard of care. As the only organization in the U.S. solely dedicated to finding treatments and a cure for polycystic kidney disease, we are proud to endorse this legislation to encourage living organ donation and shorten the transplant waiting list.” Susan Bushnell, President and CEO of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation (PKDF)


"The Renal Physicians Association is overjoyed to see a bill that for many years served as one of our legislative priorities to once again be introduced. Our patients with ESRD know the ideal pathway to a higher quality lifestyle is only through a kidney transplant. 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." - Keith Bellovich, President of the Renal Physicians Association


The bill has support from numerous groups that advocate on behalf of organ transplantation, including endorsements by the American Association of Kidney Patient, 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.


The text of the bill can be found here. 


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