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Maryland General Assembly approves tax breaks for living organ donors

20 people die every day waiting for a transplant
Posted at 9:31 AM, Mar 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 14:30:50-04

He may well have been at death's door, when one of House Speaker Michael Busch's sisters donated a portion of her liver.
    
He emerged from the transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center grateful for his life. 

"I thank the State of Maryland every day for the great medical research centers that they have---doctors, physicians and all the nursing and healthcare providers they have,” said Busch, “I'm a living example of what's the benefit of living in the State of Maryland when it comes to medical research and medical technology."
    
In a bid to remove yet another obstacle from living donations, Busch sponsored a bill to provide tax breaks to donors to offset the expenses associated with it---travel expenses, lodging bills and lost wages.
    
Governor Larry Hogan has already signaled he will sign the bill, which cleared its final vote this week, and advocates with the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland are celebrating its passage.

"This is going to encourage more Marylanders to help others through living donation and provide them the opportunity to give the gift of life,” said Karen Kennedy, the foundation’s organizational trainer, “In fact, 97% of those on the waiting list here in Maryland could potential benefit from a living donation."
    
The House Speaker has been quick to deflect any credit for the bill, claiming it's not about him, but supporters of the measure say there's no question his successful transplant and push to offset the costs for those willing to donate a portion, if not an entire organ will help others.

"He has been instrumental in helping spread the word and get that information out, so we are very appreciative,” said Kennedy, “We think it has made a difference, and it's about sharing stories.  So his candor and sharing his story really has opened eyes for people."
    
Maryland will join 18 other states who provide similar tax credits and they apply to donors of organs ranging from livers, kidneys and intestines to lungs, pancreas and bone marrow with a cap of $7,500.

Once signed, the bill will take effect July 1, 2018 and apply to tax year 2018 and beyond.

On average, 20 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are more than 114,000 people waiting for an organ.

For more information on living donation, click here.

If you'd like to register as an organ donor you can do so at the MVA or by registering at DonateLifeMaryland.org.