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Trump administration proposes loosening restrictions on organ transplants

By Danielle Haynes
President Donald Trump signs an executive order on advancing American kidney health in Washington, D.C., on July 10. His administration unveiled new organ transplant rules Tuesday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
President Donald Trump signs an executive order on advancing American kidney health in Washington, D.C., on July 10. His administration unveiled new organ transplant rules Tuesday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed new rules that could allow nearly 5,000 new organs to be transplanted to the sick and dying.

Medicare chief Seema Verma unveiled the new rules in a briefing to reporters, aiming to ease an organ shortage. She said one person is adding to "lengthy" transplant waiting lists every 10 minutes and 20 people die each day waiting.

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"No life-saving organ should go to waste," she said.

Under the new regulations, organ procurement organizations would have to consider accepting "imperfect" organs that under existing rules would not be harvested. This includes accepting organs from older donors and those with hypertension.

Organs from people with hepatitis C would also be accepted because it's a curable disease. Organs from people with HIV would also be considered for patients who are HIV+.

In July, President Donald Trump signed an executive order clearing the way for improved care, lower costs and more preventative measures for people with kidney disease.

The order will attempt to speed up the time it takes to match patients and donors for kidney transplants. It will also seek to shorten the time it takes for transplant candidates to receive kidneys from transplant centers.

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Trump estimates his streamlined plan could mean an additional 17,000 kidney transplants, along with an additional 11,000 heart, lung and liver transplants each year. Last year, there were more than 21,000 kidney transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

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