Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Recently, Congressman Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced the Organ Donation Clarification Act. This bipartisan bill would reduce the organ shortage and save lives all while reducing spending. All lawmakers should co-sponsor and support this important legislation.

This bill would reduce the organ shortage and save lives. Today, there are too few living organ donors, and the number of organs that can be recovered from deceased individuals is low. In fact, about 17 people die each day waiting for an organ, usually a kidney. As of June 2023, 114,000 Americans are on the national waitlist. Each year, the need for donor kidneys rises by eight percent.

One of the reasons for the low number of living organ donors are the astronomical barriers to organ donation. Currently, the law makes it nearly impossible to provide any incentives to encourage donation.

As its solution, the Organ Donation Clarification Act would allow for certain costs to be reimbursed. These costs include the costs associated with the removal, transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, storage of a human organ, travel, lodging, food during travel, lost wages, medical expenses, legal costs, term life insurance policy, and other logistical expenses.

Donors today have to go through a difficult procedure and recovery. They also have to pay for all of the costs associated with the donation. Allowing for reimbursement of some of their expenses will encourage more people to donate.

This legislation would also save taxpayer dollars. While patients wait for a kidney transplant, for example, they are usually on dialysis. Dialysis typically requires several treatments per week that last several hours, and patients are left feeling weak. Over 75 percent of these patients, therefore, do not have jobs.

Notably, the cost of dialysis is very high. In fact, dialysis costs Medicare over $90,000 per patient per year. accounting for about seven percent of the Medicare budget. A single kidney transplant saves an average of over $146,000 in medical costs over ten years, with 75 percent of those savings going to taxpayers. Experts believe meeting the demand of kidney transplants would save over $16 billion per year in medical costs.

Americans for Tax Reform urges all Members of Congress to co-sponsor and support the Organ Donation Clarification Act.