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Friday, March 8, 2019

Living Donor Protection Act of 2019

Last month, I shared with my readers (here) about a new, proposed Kansas law that would ban discrimination against living donors by health and life insurance companies. At that time, I also called on Congress and President Trump to pass a similar Federal law.

I've since learned that such a law is in process. Known as the Living Donor Protection Act of 2019, the legislation is sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D- NY) and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA). It's sponsors in the U.S. Senate are Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

The legislation will do 3 things:
  1. Life, disability, and long-term care insurance companies would be prohibited from charging higher premiums to, or denying or limiting coverage to living donors.
  2. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will be amended to include living donation as a serious health condition. Therefore, employee absences for living donation at both public and private employers will now be covered under that law. 
  3. U.S. Dept. of Human Services will be instructed to update all it's materials concerning organ donation to reflect the new requirement. DHS will also have to encourage people to be organ donors.
I found the actual text of this legislation here, and I see one problem with it - it does NOT address health insurance. Health insurance MUST be included as part of #1 above. If it's not, living donors will get hammered by the health insurance industry. You say, "But ObamaCare's pre-existing condition clause has that covered." What if ObamaCare was to get "repealed and replaced" at some point? What then. I'll tell you what - living donors will get screwed by health insurance providers claiming "pre-existing condition". Mark it down. It's a safe bet.

Here is all the information about the bill on the Congressional website. 

I'm glad this law has been proposed. It's way past time. It needs to be passed into law promptly, but with the amendment described above. Once properly amended, it should be a no-brainer, quick vote. All 535 members of Congress should be able to vote 'yes' and President Trump then sign it. This legislation transcends party lines and politics, because it's simply the right thing to do.

Read More: PRNnewswire.com article titled "American Kidney Fund Urges Congress to Make 2019 the Year Living Donor Protection Act Becomes Law" 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Heart Month Music Monday

February is designated as Heart Month each year. It is also the month I received my heart transplant of which I celebrated the 12th anniversary of last week. So, it is a special month for me.

Back in 2012, I posted a Music Monday series featuring Heart and a number of their most popular tunes. It was also in 2012 that Heart gave a special performance of "Stairway to Heaven" at the Kennedy Center Honors for Led Zeppelin. In my opinion, it was an unforgettable, legendary performance of one of rock 'n roll's iconic tunes by one of my favorite bands. It will be hard for anyone to ever top it.

I read somewhere after Heart's performance that usually the members of Led Zeppelin do not like it when their music is performed by other bands. However, in this case, they really enjoyed it. I think that is evident in the video.

If you have not scene it, today's your chance. It is embedded below or can be viewed by clicking here. Enjoy. I sure did.
 
Heart "Stairway to Heaven" (Live) from Hamilton Post Production on Vimeo.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Kansas Law Would Prevent Discrimination Against Living Donors

The Kansas legislature is currently considering a bill that would ban any type of insurance industry discrimination against living donors. Simply put, it would prevent insurance companies from charging living donors higher premiums on life, health, disability, or long-term care policies.

The legislation would also prevent insurance companies from denying living donors coverage or canceling their policy just for being a living donor. Studies have shown that approximately 1/4 of living donors endure such discrimination, and, in my opinion, it's just as wrong as discrimination based upon race, national origin, etc. 

When someone decides to give of themselves in order to save the life of another, they should be encouraged for doing so instead of receiving a form of punishment by way of financial hardship from the insurance industry. I doubt that Kansas is the only state where this law is needed. 

Therefore, I'm calling on Congress and President Trump to put an end to such discrimination once and for all by passing a federal law banning discrimination against the heroes in this country who have chosen to give the gift of life through living donation. Washington is in the news all the time with Trump and Congress arguing and bickering over things that aren't a matter of life and death while this discrimination and the needless dying of Americans on the waiting list for life-saving organ transplants continues.

In fact, Sue Herndon, who in 2009 donated a kidney to a friend, stated it best when she testified that, "Everything we do to help encourage living donation saves lives." She is 100% correct. 

Read More: cjonline.com article titled "Kidney Donor Asks Kansas Legislators to Block Insurance Discrimination"

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Holiday Gift of Life

Marilyn Walto of Dalton, MA suffered from an autoimmune disease known as Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) since the 1980s. PBC is a progressive, chronic disease which destroys the liver's bile ducts. It can cause swelling in the feet and legs, abdominal pain, and other issues.

By Nephron - Wikipedia
Back in the summer, Marilyn's health suddenly deteriorated necessitating a life-saving liver transplant. After her daughter posted on Facebook about her mom's need, scores of willing people, including family members and friends, came forward offering to be a living donor. Unfortunately, none of them were able to do so, either due to pre-existing health conditions or simply because they were not a match.

Then, on Thanksgiving Eve, Marilyn received the call that a liver match was available. She received a transplant and is now doing great. In fact, she just celebrated her 68th birthday.

Marilyn's story tells of how organ donation provides people with hope and the opportunity to reach milestones they never would have otherwise. It saves lives, including mine nearly 12 years ago. 

If you have not registered as an organ and tissue donor, please do so as about 20 Americans will die today waiting due to a lack of registered donors. To register in the state where you live, please visit the Donate Life America website by clicking here

Read More: www.BershireEagle.com article titled "With Her Family, A Mom Celebrates A Birthday She Never Thought She'd See"