Every day, Americans are dying because of an inefficient organ donation system. That reality is as tragic as it is fixable, and cemented a seemingly unlikely friendship between us as two former White House staffers who served two very different presidents.
It might seem like there are not many points of policy agreement between the Trump and Obama White House, but organ donation reform is one.
Organ donation and transplantation has long been a bipartisan issue. The current system was championed by then-Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Al Gore (D-Tenn.) in 1984. Immunosuppression, a therapy that helps organ recipients’ bodies accept donated organs, had recently taken off, and with that, organ transplantation became possible for many more people. Hatch and Gore hoped to encourage organ donation by ensuring that the organizations on the frontlines of organ donation – called organ procurement organizations (OPOs) – had the resources to recover organs from potential donors.