The American Kidney Fund (AKF) applauds the introduction of the federal Living Donor Protection Act of 2021 (H.R.1255/S.377), which would provide living organ donors important job protections while also protecting them from discrimination by life, disability and long-term care insurance carriers.
The federal legislation would provide a uniform baseline of protections nationwide for living organ donors. AKF’s State of the States: Living Donor Protection Report Card, released in February, found that the 50 states and the District of Columbia currently offer a patchwork of protections to living organ donors-meaning that where a person lives can affect their ability to be a living donor.
There are currently 108,000 people on the national transplant waiting list, including 93,000 who are waiting for a kidney. The bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington) and in the Senate by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas).
“Passage of the federal Living Donor Protection Act would ultimately shorten the kidney transplant waiting list by making it easier for more people to be living donors,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund. “AKF has spearheaded efforts at the state level to pass living donor protections, working with state lawmakers to get such laws passed in 12 states. We are grateful to Reps. Nadler and Herrera Beutler, and Sens. Gillibrand and Cotton, for introducing legislation that will give people in every state the same baseline protections-ultimately saving the lives of people who are waiting for a transplant.”
The Living Donor Protection Act of 2021 (H.R.1255/S.377) would ensure that living organ donors have Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections so they can take time off work to donate the kidney and recover from the surgery without fear of losing their job. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter in 2018 which stated that organ donation is protected under FMLA. The Living Donor Protection Act would codify the DOL opinion, protecting under federal statute those living donors whose employers are covered under FMLA.
The bill would also protect living donors from discrimination by insurance carriers and prohibits insurers from:
- Declining or limiting coverage of a person under any life insurance policy, disability insurance policy, or long-term care insurance policy due to the person’s living donor status
- Preventing a person from donating all or part of an organ as a condition of receiving a life insurance policy, disability insurance policy, or long-term care insurance policy;
- Considering the fact that a person is a living organ donor when determining the premium amount.
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease-from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.