Public Comments for 02/24/2022 Commerce and Energy
SB271 - Insurance; discrimination based on status as living organ donor prohibited.
My name is Kat Velkoff and I’ve lived in Virginia my whole life and I’m a living kidney donor. I’m in favor of Senate Bill 271 because living donors save lives, they save insurance companies money on the cost of dialysis, and we deserve protection from insurance discrimination. Because of the extensive testing done on living donors prior to the surgery, living donors actually have a longer life expectancy than the average population and do not pose a financial risk to life insurance companies. Kidneys from deceased donors last an average of 7-14 years but kidneys from living donors last 14-21 years. Few people will be impacted by this bill, because the number of living donors is small, but those who are will have their lives changed forever. There aren’t many living donors, but this bill would allow us to donate without worrying about our financial futures and our jobs being gone. It would save our recipients years of dialysis. Most kidney donors return to work within 2-4 weeks and kidney nephrectomy surgeries don’t carry any more risks than an appendectomy, which as you know are incredibly small. Last year 125 Virginians died waiting on an organ transplant that never came. Currently, 2,400 Virginians are still waiting on an organ transplant. 91% of them are waiting for a kidney or liver that can be received from a living donor. I urge you to pass Senate Bill 271 to help protect living donors and more importantly, remove barriers that keep people in need from receiving an organ that can change or save their lives.
Our organization writes in support of VA SB 271, which includes provisions expanding protection for organ and bone marrow living donors. Proposed living donor protection legislation, such as SB 271, will save more lives by improving donor availability, reduce time to transplant, and provide an administratively simple solution for employers. Please support SB 271 and vote to pass it.
letter of support for SB 271 from the National Kidney Foundation
On behalf of all the people we serve in Virginia, including the 20,215 residents currently living with End-Stage-Renal Disease (ESRD) we are writing to request that you support SB 371, the Living Donor Protection Act. This important bill would prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against people based on their status as an organ donor. The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization working 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. We are also one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, AKF has also received the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 18 consecutive years, as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar. While most transplanted organs are from deceased donors, patients may also receive organs from living donors. Living donation offers an alternative for individuals awaiting transplantation from a deceased donor and increases the existing organ supply. Over 6,000 living-donor transplants were performed last year in the United States. Kidneys are the most common organ transplanted from living donors, followed by liver and lung. Both living and deceased donation offer hope to nearly 110,000 people waiting for an organ transplant right now—including more than 95,000 who are waiting for a kidney transplant. In addition to transforming the life of the kidney patient, a transplant is a boon to society. The cost of a transplant is lower than long-term kidney dialysis, and it gives the transplant recipient a greater ability to remain in or return to the workforce. Unfortunately, studies have shown that people who donate organs experience discrimination by insurance companies solely based on their status as an organ donor. For example, an NIH study demonstrated that a high proportion of kidney donors had difficulty changing or initiating insurance, particularly life insurance. The study concluded that “[t]hese practices by insurers create unnecessary burdens and stress for those choosing to donate and could negatively impact the likelihood of live kidney donation among those considering donation.” Further, extensive research has demonstrated that people who donate a kidney are likely to live just as long as similarly healthy people who have both kidneys. We believe that providing incentives and removing financial burdens for living donors can lead to an increase in organ donations. For these reasons, we are hopeful for your support for this and any future legislation that could help improve the lives of those fighting kidney disease. Thank you again for your leadership and for your consideration of this important issue. Sincerely, Melanie Lynn Lendnal American Kidney Fund Senior Director, State Policy and Advocacy firstname.lastname@example.org
A letter of support from the Chronic Disease Coalition. The letter includes statistics on organ donation needs nationwide and why this legislation is critical for Virginians with chronic illnesses.
SB194 - Insurance; public adjusters, standards of conduct.