Family health

Georgia Senate approves bill inspired by senator’s family health journey

The Georgia State Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved the “Gift of Life Act.”

State Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, sponsored the legislation after donating a kidney to his son last summer.

“In August 2020, my eldest son, Will, nearly lost his life,” Senator Albers told his colleagues at the well.

Will Albers had kidney failure at just 24 and started dialysis. After months of testing and waiting, Senator Albers learned he was compatible.

GEORGIA STATE SENATOR DONATES KIDNEY TO HIS SON

State Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, is sponsoring legislation to help those in need of organ transplants after donating his kidney to his eldest son Will last summer. (FOX 5)

Father and son entered Emory University Hospital on July 21, 2021 for life-saving transplant surgery.

“We’re doing great. So you don’t know what you have until you lose it, but right now I feel like a teenager again,” Will Albers said. “It’s amazing. About an hour after I woke up from surgery, I could tell I had more energy.”

What does the “Gift of Life Act” do?

The “gift of life law“has three main elements:

  • First, it prohibits insurance companies from modifying or denying life insurance coverage to organ donors.
  • It also increases the state tax credit for living donors from a maximum of $10,000 to $25,000 to help cover expenses.
  • Finally, the bill creates an all-new state tax credit for Georgian businesses to provide their employees with up to six weeks of paid vacation if they donate or receive an organ.

“We’re trying to break down all barriers, so someone will come forward and say, ‘I can help save a life,'” Sen. Albers explained.

Sen. Albers said the maximum cost of the tax credits to the state is estimated at $1.7 million. He pointed out that the bill would save the state about $62 million in the cost of care for those waiting for kidney transplants.

And after?

The bill is now heading to the House of Representatives.

If passed, the insurance portion of the bill would come into effect on July 1, 2022. Changes to the tax credit would begin on January 1, 2023.

The father and son team, however, said their work doesn’t stop in Georgia.

“It’s not just a Georgia problem. You know, it’s a problem everywhere in every state. So even though we’ll celebrate and go to dinner once we get the governor’s signature in Georgia, it’s is a small win, but it’s not until he’s gone all over the place,” Will Albers said.

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