Four bills are making their way through Washington’s legislative process with the aim of encouraging living organ donation while preventing living donors from becoming victims of insurance discrimination.
Today, the majority of donated organs come from deceased donors, which means patients may wait years before receiving a transplant. According to data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are approximately 1,900 Washingtonians waiting for a transplant, and nearly 1,500 are waiting for a kidney transplant. UNOS also reports that 17 people die each day while on the wait list for a donor.
By giving the gift of life, living donors decrease the wait time for people on the transplant list. Additionally, recipients of organs from living donors typically experience fewer complications, and living organs tend to survive longer, prolonging the time before another transplant is needed.
Together, Senate Bills 6039, 6123, 6349 and 6216 would help to ensure living donors are able to obtain affordable health and life insurance and take a protected leave of absence from work. In doing so, it increases the chances that a person will consider and move forward with living donation. This legislation would:
Prevent health plans from declining or limiting coverage to a person based solely on their status as a living donor
Ensure that living donors can obtain life insurance, health insurance or a long-term care policy
Provide paid leave to state workers who choose to become living donors
Allow for non-state employees to utilize paid leave to receive medical treatment or recover from surgery
The Northwest Kidney Council is proud to support common sense legislation that protects people who decide to give the gift of life. Join us in urging the Washington Legislature to pass these living donor protection policies.