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    More than 65,000 Americans are awaiting organ transplant and last year, almost 5,000 Americans died while waiting for an organ to become available. While a transplant recipient's health insurance usually pays the donor's medical costs, including surgery and tests, it doesn't cover related expenses such as treks to the hospital, hotel rooms, or lost wages. Concerned that these costs will deter potential donors, transplant supporters across the United States are searching for ways to compensate them.

    . One is tax incentives.
    On May 12 2010, 6 Michigan Senators introduced a bill that would require the state to create an organ donor leave time program for state employees. The bill would cover state employees who are not civil service employees, and the bill encourages the civil service commission to approve an organ donor leave time program for civil service employees. The idea behind this bill is to encourage state employees to become organ and bone marrow donors by creating a leave time program so they would not have to worry about losing salary or leave time if they become a donor.

    According to Gift of Life Michigan, as of April 1, 2010 there were 2,931 Michigan citizens waiting for a transplant. Of that number, 2,380 were waiting for a kidney. This bill would allow any person employed by the state, except those in the classified civil service, to use up to 30 days of leave time to serve as an organ donor.
    "People can now donate a kidney, their bone marrow, or even a piece of their liver to help save another person's life, but there are not enough organ donors to meet the need," said Senator Jacobs. "My bill will remove one of the obstacles that now stand in the way of their offering this kind of lifesaving help. Most importantly, this state policy would serve as a model for the private sector."

    There are some controversial issues regarding how organs are allocated between patients. For example, some believe that livers should not be given to alcoholics in danger of reversion, while others view alcoholism as a medical condition like diabetes. Certain groups, like the Roma (gypsies) oppose organ donation on religious grounds, but most of the world's religions support donation as a charitable act of great benefit to the community.

    Quote Sources:
    http://www.senate.michigan.gov/dem/pr.php?id=1646

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    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Leah Brynaert

    Leah Brynaert is Health Care Fellow & Correspondent for the Michigan Policy Network. She is a first-year student in Lyman Briggs College at MSU.