Jan 25, 2022 - News

Changing Georgia's organ donor laws

Two men walk arm in arm through a hospital
State Sen. John Albers (right) and his son Will at the hospital where he received his father's kidney. Photo: Courtesy of John Albers

Republican state Sen. John Albers knows what he’s talking about when it comes to SB 330, a bill he introduced to incentivize organ donation and support donors.

Driving the news: Albers’ legislation is scheduled to have its first committee hearing this afternoon.

Details: The bill would increase the no-questions-asked tax credit for organ donors from $10,000 to $25,000.

  • It would prohibit life insurance companies from penalizing organ donors by denying or canceling coverage.
  • And it would allow employers to access a tax credit to offset the cost of missed work for donors and recipients. This is designed to prevent donors and recipients from exhausting their sick or vacation time to recover.

Zoom in: Albers said the total cost to the state for this bill would be $1.7 million. That’s far less than the average $250,000 per year it costs to care for a patient who needs a new kidney or liver, which qualifies for Medicare or Medicaid, Albers tells Axios. Once patients receive a transplant, he says, medical costs drop by 90%.

The big picture: Donate Life Georgia reports more than 5,400 Georgians are in need of organ transplants.

What’s next: Albers hopes for smooth, bipartisan sailing for the bill. He hopes to make it “model legislation” for other states to pass.

And he is spreading the word about another issue organ donations face:

  • Even though a majority of Georgians list themselves as organ donors on their driver's licenses, Albers says he has heard that people often overrule their deceased family members in the moment. He wants to encourage families to respect their loved one’s wishes.
  • “Each one of us has the potential to save a life right now,” he says.

You can sign up to be a Georgia organ donor here.

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