Living Donor Protection Act becomes law, helping to protect people against discrimination
DELAWARE – A small bill with a lot of meaning was signed by Governor John Carney Thursday afternoon. It’s called The Living Donor Protection Act.
“SB 218 is a really important piece of legislation that came to us from one of our constituents who was dealing with an issue that his insurance company was retching up the rates because he was a living organ donor,” Sen. Ernie Lopez said.
The bill was signed at Beebe’s specialty surgical center, it will prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against a person based on their status as a living organ or tissue donor. With 1 in 4 people being discriminated against and denied insurance coverage, lawmakers tell us this is a big step for Delaware to join at least the 20 other states who already have similar pieces of legislation in place.
“We know we have people waiting for kidney transplants, so living donors are very important to that and this was an opportunity to eliminate something that could get in the way of somebody deciding to be a donor,” Gov. Carney said.
“One is too many, so at the end of the day to be able to make sure that that isn’t happening anymore in Delaware, that people can freely in good conscious want to give of themselves an organ and be a living donor that’s something that there should be no hesitation about,” Sen. Lopez said.
President and CEO of Beebe Healthcare, Dr. David Tam, said he’s thrilled to see a bill like this get recognition. He said it will bring awareness to living donors while providing a sense of hope.
“It helps the patients because they know that they won’t be financially burdened if they are in a setting for an extra day or two days while patients are able to come and get that living donor transplant,” Dr. Tam said.
And, while passing this bill was an exciting moment for many, we’re told also knowing lawmakers from both sides of the aisle passed it unanimously held its own meaning.
“I’m really proud of that, I think Washington needs to take notice. At the end of the day, those of us who were elected into office are elected to improve the lives of our constituents and that’s what we’ve done here today,” Sen. Lopez said.
Governor John Carney said the bill passed unanimously in the House with a 41 to 0 vote, and the Senate vote was unanimous as well with 21 votes.
Senate Bill 218 did take effect immediately after Governor Carney’s signature.