Nadler, Wilson Introduce Bill Providing a Tax Credit to Living Organ Donors
Washington, DC, November 2, 2023
Tags: Health Care
Today, Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced the Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act, H.R. 6171. The bill will provide up to a $5,000 one-time refundable tax credit to living organ donors who were not reimbursed for the costs related to organ donation by the National Living Organ Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) or any entity.
Our nation’s transplant shortage is dire. Seventeen people die every day waiting for a viable organ according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. Currently, there are around 93,000 Americans on the kidney transplant waitlist, with some having to wait as long as six years to receive a transplant, according to UNOS. Patients waiting for a transplant on average cost the U.S. government at least $77,000 a year on dialysis, which adds up to more than $20 billion a year according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Removing the barriers to organ donation will not only increase the number of living donors therefore saving lives, but also will save the taxpayers money. This tax credit would apply to living kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, intestine, bone marrow donors, and any other viable living organ donation.
“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," said Rep. Nadler. "However, donors can face tremendous and often prohibitive costs associated with surgery, including the cost of travel, lodging, follow up care, and lost wages in connection to transplantation. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bill with Rep. Wilson and continue my work to remove roadblocks to organ donation.”
“The gift of living donation is truly priceless. The donors who choose the selfless act of giving a lifesaving organ are making a major life decision, whether gifting to a stranger or a loved one. That lifechanging decision should not be burdened by the costs of donation, and this bill will remove that disincentive to ensure that everyone is able to donate an organ if they choose to, regardless of their financial situation,” said Rep. Wilson. “My predecessor House Armed Services Committee Chairman Floyd Spence miraculously received a double lung transplant as the thirtieth in the world to receive the experiment, living an additional 13 years serving America. We are always grateful for Dr. Sesshadri Raju at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi for performing the procedure in 1988. I previously worked in the South Carolina State Senate to add a red heart for organ donors to South Carolina Driver’s Licenses at the time of registration. Today, I am grateful to expand this piece of Floyd Spence’s legacy.”
The bill has been endorsed by the American Kidney Fund (AKF), National Kidney Foundation (NKF), RSN Hope, Waitlist Zero, Kidney Transplant Collaborative (KTC), Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation, American Society of Nephrology (ASN), American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN), American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA), National Kidney Registry (NKR), National Kidney Donation Organization (NKDO), Coalition to Modify NOTA, American Society of Transplantation (AST), American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS), and the Renal Physicians Association.
“The Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act of 2023 would help expand the number of living donors and provide more end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients with kidneys. A refundable tax credit will eliminate many of the financial barriers to organ donation and give more people the opportunity to give this life saving gift. The American Kidney Fund applauds the introduction of this bill,” said LaVarne A. Burton, President and CEO of the American Kidney Fund (AKF).
“Living donors should not have their life-saving generosity rewarded with outstanding bills for lodging, transportation, and other donation-related expenses,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), and a transplant recipient. “A refundable tax credit is a bi-partisan, common-sense measure that will remove financial barriers that interfere with an individual’s ability to donate a kidney.”
"There are financial barriers for people who want to give the gift of life. People who donate a kidney to help someone in need are heroes. The Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act is long overdue,” said Lori Hartwell the Founder and President of the Renal Support Network (RSN Hope).
“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, I applaud Congressman Wilson for his longtime support of organ transplantation and living donation. The AST strongly endorses and supports the Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act. The Society commends and is grateful for the steadfast leadership of Congressmen Wilson and Nadler to improve the lives of those awaiting a life saving donor organ,” said Josh Levitsky, M.D, President of the American Society of Transplantation (AST).
Elizabeth Pomfret, MD, PhD, University of Colorado and President of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) said, “We welcome this carefully structured policy that would help remove financial disincentives to living donation through the tax code.” She added, “The legislation would provide a clear message to potential donors: Congress can help to eliminate disincentives to donation while safeguarding patient health and safety without resorting to financial coercion in order to share the gift of life.”
“The Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act will help make organ donation an easier choice for many Americans. People who donate a kidney provide the gift of life, yet many organ donors must pay thousands of dollars out of pocket in order to donate. By establishing a tax credit for certain expenses incurred during donation, this bill will help remove financial barriers facing living donors,” said Michelle A. Josephson, MD, FASN, President, American Society of Nephrology (ASN).
“The Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act moves us closer to the goal of removing all financial barriers to organ donation. The legislation builds upon existing programs that support living donors, providing all living organ donors access to financial support through a limited tax credit. I believe the support provided through the Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act is important to respect living donors and hope the bill will make the choice to donate a kidney achievable for more people,” said Roslyn B. Mannon, MD, FASN, Chair, American Society of Nephrology Policy and Advocacy Committee.
The American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN), “applauds the introduction of the Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act by Representatives Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY). Rates of living kidney donation are declining in the US in both the pediatric and adult populations. This decline persists despite the fact that living donor kidney transplant is well established as the optimal treatment for children and adults with end stage kidney disease due to superior graft and patient survival. This important legislation will encourage living donors and we urge its swift passage.”
“ANNA supports the Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act. Transplantation is the most effective treatment for chronic kidney disease, but donating a kidney can be costly. This bill will help reduce some of the cost barriers that hinder potential organ donations,” said Jennifer Payton MHCA, BSN, RN, CNN, President of the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA).
“Over 90,000 Americans are on the kidney transplant waitlist, including thousands of polycystic kidney disease patients in kidney failure who are waiting for a cure. The Federal Government needs to do everything possible to get kidneys to more individuals before it’s too late. The PKD Foundation applauds and stands with Representatives Joe Wilson and Jerry Nadler for introducing the Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act which will help encourage more Americans to give the gift of life by offsetting some of the financial burdens that discourage living organ donation,” said Susan Bushnell, President and CEO of the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation.
“Waitlist Zero was founded by living kidney donors who know that living organ donation costs donors on average 10% of their annual salaries. For that reason, too many potential donors remove themselves from consideration once they realize that donation includes a financial burden. Representative Wilson's and Representative Nadler's Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act will provide a refundable tax credit for all living organ donors. Organ transplant is both life and tax saving, and Waitlist Zero is proud to support this bill,” said Waitlist Zero.
A copy of the legislation can be found at this link.
U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler represents New York's 12th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan, and serves as the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.