Pay Up or Die! No Money No Transplant

I’m angry!!!.  Many of our citizens are sick and dying because they can’t afford healthcare and our government is throwing money down ratholes wherever you look.  In the last quarter of a century, thousands of people needing transplants have died because they could not pay for the procedure.  Many of these good people were organ donors but when the time came for them to become recipients, they could not even get on the waiting list.  Is that what America is about?  Do we really want to say, “Sorry but no money no organ, you’ll just have to go home and die.”   Actually, our nation says much the same thing to anyone who can’t afford health care.  That is inexcusable!  Did you know that the United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t guarantee healthcare as a citizen’s right?  Do I sound as though I am in favor of a one-payer system – well, I am.

When suggestions are made that would end this disgraceful situation the response usually is, “It’s a raw deal but we just can’t afford to pay for everyone’s health care.”  Really?  How is it that we can’t afford to pay for transplants and other health care but we can pay for stupid “pork barrel” projects like Boston’s Big Dig.?  According to Wikipedia

The Big Dig in Boston cost $14.6 billion (over $4 billion a mile) to place a freeway underground.”  The boondoggle project resulted in criminal arrests, escalating costs, death, leaks and charges of poor execution and use of substandard materials.  You can read the Wikipedia explanation to get the full story but the Big Dig is not an isolated instance.  Each year we spend billions on so-called “Earmark” projects.

If we can grease the pockets of construction companies we can certainly make sure that anyone who needs a new organ can get it.  Why can’t people afford transplants?  The estimated costs for a heart transplant during the first post-operative year are $478,900, according to the health-care consulting firm Milliman USA.  Additionally there is the enormous cost of immunosuppressant medications that organ recipients have to take for the rest of their lives.   (More on transplantation costs at Southern Methodist University news).  If you don’t have insurance or cash you will likely be sent home to die, and that’s not the hospital’s fault.  Most of them spend millions each year for indigent care but they can’t pay for everyone’s treatment.   This is not a hospital problem rather, it is a societal issue.

At the very least our nation should provide catastrophic insurance for its citizens so whether the catastrophe is cancer, a heart attack or an organ transplant the ability to pay would no longer be a requirement for treatment.

Please read and comment on my World Wide Issues  blogs on   Also…visit my Facebook site, Organ Transplant Patients, Friends and You at  OR — my Facebook home page

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About Bob Aronson

About Bob Aronson On August 21, 2007 I received a new heart at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. All these years later I am very active, happy and loving life. God bless my donor and his family. His generosity toward a complete stranger will never be forgotten. I am retired and live with my wife Robin and two dogs Reilly the main dog and Ziggy the backup. We are a very happy family. My gratitude to my wonderful caregiver wife, my donor, his family and the Mayo Clinic is beyond my ability to express. Suffice it to say I will do whatever is in my power to promote organ and tissue donation and to help and support everyone affected by the issue. As a result of receiving the “Gift of Life” I have made a major commitment to organ/tissue/blood donation, transplantation and related issues. I am the founder of Facebook's over 4,000 member support group, Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) and the blog site, “Bob’s Newheart” I have authored the great majority of the nearly 250 blogs listed there. The remainder were written by excellent guest bloggers. The posts span a wide variety of topics mostly involving organ/tissue donation/transplantation and related issues, but also covering important current medical news and information. Wordpress data indicate the blogs have readers in 162 countries. Bob's Newheart is quickly becoming the news and information source of choice for those with an interest in organ/tissue donation/transplantation along with current developments in medical news and health care. Born In Chisholm, Minnesota I now reside in Jacksonville, Florida. I have three children and one step son, 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. My three grown children are Roger Aronson a well-known and respected Minneapolis, Minnesota Attorney, Dr. Colleen Hegranes Senior Vice President St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota and Harryet (Hank) Freeman who is probably the best history teacher in America, at least that's what her students at Woodbury, Minnesota High school tell me. Stepson Tim Grant and wife Jennifer live a couple of blocks from us in Jacksonville. Jen is a talented cook, baker, and mother. Tim is an in-demand electrician in Jacksonville who can really make almost anything work. Stella and Lily Grant are two very bright and talented granddaughters. For 25 plus years I owned the Aronson Communications Group an international consultancy specializing in health care communication. The Mayo Clinic was my first consulting client, a relationship that lasted until my retirement. I also worked with 3M health care, UNOS, LIfeSource, Dartmouth University Medical Center and CH2M HILL, one of the nation's largest environmental engineering firms. Prior to being a consultant I served for four years as the first Anchor for Morning Edition on the Minnesota Public Radio Network; was the Communications director for Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich and before that held positions as a broadcast journalist at several Midwest facilities. I also served as the Director of broadcast communications at Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minnesota. While I am retired Robin is not and I assist her efforts as founder and owner of Jingler’s Jewelry. She designs and makes colorful, "Fun" anodized aluminum jewelry and is also an accomplished printmaker. She sells her creations at art shows, festivals and gift shops in states east of the Mississippi but mostly in the south. Her website is When I have time, my hobbies include reading, music and woodworking. One of my most notable projects was completing a wood scale model of the mom and pop grocery store my parents ran for 50 years in Chisholm, Minnesota. The model now resides in Chisholm in my sister's home. Our parents were wonderful people who instilled in us a very strong work ethic and a sense of fairness and equality. I also built a dollhouse for granddaughter Lily Grant and just completed designing and building a CD box that looks like an accordion. A friend commissioned me to make it in memory of his father who was an accomplished accordion musician. I have a brother and sister of whom I am very proud . They are twins. Terry is a Minnesota District Court Judge and Mary a retired but still the best 3rd grade teacher in America. I am proud of them for what they have done but more importantly for who they are. My wife Robin is a caregiver, musician, artist, entrepreneur and the best friend I have. While we do a lot of things together we especially like making music. Often in the evening you can hear the strains of folk, Blue Grass, country and other music coming from our family room. Robin plays several instruments including string bass, accordion, guitar, ukulele, mandolin and...well the list goes on. I play harmonica and have one in almost every key. She's really good...I'm not. Quantity does not ensure quality. One more thing. I am also a recovering Alcoholic and a former smoker. I emerged from a 28 day in-patient alcoholism treatment program in August of 1982 and have managed to stay sober with the help of a lot of people both in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous. I quit smoking in January of 1991 after a 37 year habit of up to four packs of cigarettes a day. It wasn’t easy but I’m living proof that it can be done. I am available to anyone suffering from or affected by any addiction at any time through my email address or via phone 904-434-6512.

Posted on May 21, 2008, in Paying for transplants. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. How stupid of me, why didn’t I think of it, of course physicians are to blame, we certainly can’t blame the insurance companies for the insurance you have that doesn’t allow you to use it. Yes, Yes, damn physicians.


  2. Not to be rude, but if doctors didn’t charge such exorbitant costs. I have medical Insurance but can’t even afford to use it.

    Be a part of the solution if you are going to gripe about the problem!


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