Your guide to Prop. 29 on California kidney dialysis centers
Californians don’t have to wait much longer for the Legislature’s decision on Proposition 29. The bill, which passed the Assembly on Wednesday with a 74-0 vote, will go to the Senate next week for further debate and a possible vote. If the measure passes, it would take effect in July 2022.
In January, two studies found that a transplant saves the lives of almost 300,000 people in the United States every year. In California, dialysis is used to treat chronic kidney failure. The state has the most high-need patients and the fewest donor organs. Only 1,971 patients are on the list for a transplant in California, according to the state’s official Transplant Organ and Tissue Network.
Dialysis patients can’t take kidney donations from living people. When they die, the state pays their family members to find kidneys elsewhere. That’s the price of having a statewide transplant program.
Prop. 29 would eliminate this “donor-exchange policy” by creating financial incentives for the exchange of kidneys for transplantation. As a result, more Californians would be eligible to have the life-saving treatment that could save them from a year or more of dialysis.
Many have questions about how this measure would work.
“Can someone get a kidney without knowing who they’re donating it to?” asked Dr. James E. Wright, chief of urology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at Los Angeles and Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
“The best way to find out if you have an eligible donor is to know who is going to be receiving your organs. We want to know who the patient is so he or she can make an informed decision about getting a donor,” said Dr. Wright, who has given heart, kidney, pancreas and liver transplants at both of his hospitals.