May 18 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) led the introduction of legislation to help break up the monopoly contract currently held by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to manage the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).
“From damaged organs to discriminatory organ donation policies, it’s clear UNOS should no longer be the sole contractor for the organ donation system,” said Sen. Moran. “I have worked for years to shed light on the mismanagement of the organ donation system and have consistently called for the contract to be divided. This legislation helps provide greater transparency to the organ donation system and changes how the contract is divided, allowing HRSA to conduct a competitive bidding process for each contract. Every organ counts, and this legislation will help overhaul the system and save lives.”
“Major changes are needed to modernize the organ procurement system on behalf of Americans on the waiting list for an organ transplant that will save their lives,” said Sen. Wyden. “For too long UNOS has had a stranglehold on this contract, and as the Finance Committee’s investigation showed, that lack of accountability has had dire consequences. It’s high time to bring in some competition so there can be more accountability and know-how to improve results and save lives.”
“UNOS’s monopoly over the U.S. organ donation system has been disastrous,” said Sen. Grassley. “Decades of corruption and mismanagement have left vulnerable patients to die on the waiting list while unused organs from generous American donors go to waste. Building on the Senate Finance Committee’s investigation, I’m committed to working with my bipartisan colleagues to advance long-overdue competition in this life and death area of health care.”
“The grave disparities in access to organ transplants are unconscionable,” said Sen. Cardin. “Our bipartisan bill will move us toward a more transparent and equitable system that will save lives by improving timely access to needed transplant organs, particularly for patients in underserved communities.”
The legislation would remove barriers in OPTN contracting and give the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) statutory authority to improve management of the organ transplantation system in the U.S. The current OPTN contract is set to expire September 30, 2023, making the proposed changes urgent and timely for HRSA to make meaningful reforms.
Additional co-sponsors include Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).
Timeline of Sen. Moran’s involvement in ending the UNOS contract:
- September 2022: Sen. Moran publishes op-ed in Modern Healthcare titled, “Competition needed to address a flawed organ donation system”
- January 2022: Sens. Moran and Blunt lead 14 senators in demanding Biden administration reverse its “biased, partial, and unjust” National Liver Distribution Policy
- December 2021: Sens. Moran and Blunt publish op-ed in the Kansas City Star titled, “System for liver plants is rigged against those who live in the Midwest or South”
- December 2021: Sens. Moran and Blunt demand HHS reverse flawed liver allocation policy
- February 2020: Sen. Moran speaks on Senate Floor regarding harmful national liver allocation policy
- January 2020: Sens. Moran and Blunt urge HHS to continue delaying changes to National Liver Distribution Policy
- August 2019: Sens. Moran and Blunt press HHS Secretary Azar on proposed changes to kidney, pancreas allocation policies
- May 2019: Sens. Moran and Blunt call for delay in Liver Allocation Policy pending GAO study
- April 2019: Sen. Moran questions HHS Secretary Azar on liver allocation policy
- January 2019: Sens. Moran and Blunt, 20 Senate colleagues demand answers on changes to National Liver Distribution Policy
- December 2018: Sens. Moran and Blunt challenge flawed changes to National Liver Distribution Policy
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