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Senators urge repeal of new organ donation policy found to discriminate against those in Midwest, South

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Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 2:25 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Jerry Moran has urged the Department of Health and Human Services to repeal a new organ donation policy, which has been found to discriminate against those in the Midwest.

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) says he and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) led 14 of their colleagues to urge Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to reverse the Biden Administration’s flawed national liver distribution policy.

Moran said the new policy disproportionately harms patients who live in the Midwest and the South.

“For many years, Members of the Senate have expressed serious concerns about the Department of Health and Human Services’ contractor-driven organ allocation policy,” wrote the senators. “These concerns have included issues with the Department ceding control to a contractor to determine all organ allocation decisions; limited oversight by the Department of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) policymaking process, run by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS); the UNOS Board’s orchestrated overruling of their expert Liver and Intestine Committee’s recommendations; and the Board’s failure to include all public comments in its consideration.”

In the letter, Moran said senators recently released emails that indicate a pattern of collusion between UNOS, a New England-area organ procurement organization and others before changes in liver allocation were announced.

Moran said the emails further include profane and disparaging comments about those who live in the South, which shows a clear bias against these areas in the policy-making process.

“Mr. Secretary, these emails show, without a shadow of a doubt, that the liver allocation decision was fundamentally flawed, and the body charged with carrying it out is systematically broken,” the senators continued. “In particular, the adoption of the allocation policy for livers has been fraught with inconsistency, a lack of transparency, and clear violations by UNOS in determining the policy. Yet, in every instance that these concerns have been brought to the Department, they have been disregarded. It is time for the Department to reverse this biased, partial, and unjust allocation policy.”

Moran said the letter was also signed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

To read the full letter sent to Sec. Becerra, click HERE.

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