23% of Donors Can’t Pay For A Transplant
I have written before about the inequality of the organ transplant system but the following information caused me and I hope you, too, to consider the topic again. It is particularly important now because it is an election year and now is the time to put pressure on candidates to make changes in the current health care system. Here is but another short chapter.
According to a study by Southern Methodist University, http://www.smu.edu/newsinfo/excerpts/cardiac-donation-ethics.html)
“Twenty three (23) percent of organ donors are uninsured.” That means that despite being donors, they would not be eligible for transplants because they could not afford the cost of the procedure. The study goes on to say, “Financing an organ transplant out-of-pocket is prohibitive for all but the wealthiest of Americans. The estimated costs for a heart transplant during the first post-operative year is $478,900, according to the health-care consulting firm Milliman USA. Liver transplant patients typically incur about $393,000 in expenses during the first year” (Important note…There is no cost associated with being a donor, the recipient’s insurance pays for all charges. The recipient, though, must have the financial resources to pay for the procedure or he/she will likely be denied a new organ).
As an aside, this information makes LifeSharers claims of equity even more absurd, unless LifeSharers will pay the cost of a transplant for the approximately 23 percent of its 11,000 plus members (2,530 people) who presumably lack the finances to afford a transplant..
One approach that would make the system more equitable is a national healthcare system that would provide funding for those people who otherwise would fall through the cracks. At this point, the United States is the only industrialized western nation that does not provide the kind of health care of which I speak.
Additionally, under a national or universal health care system we might be able to address the following sorry statistics: (http://cthealth.server101.com/the_case_for_universal_health_care_in_the_united_states.htm)
The United States ranks 23rd in infant mortality, down from 12th in 1960 and 21st in 1990
The United States ranks 20 in life expectancy for women down from 1 in 1945 and 13 in 1960
The United States ranks 21 in life expectancy for men down from 1st in 1945 and 17 in 1960.
If you really care about an equitable health plan in the U.S. write to your Congressperson or Senator now. Election years are about the only time elected officials really listen…well, kind of.
Please comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be a donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.
Please visit and join my Facebook site, ORGAN Transplantation Initiative http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=152655364765710 OR — my Facebook home Page http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&tid=10150094667020070#!/ . The more members we get the greater our impact on increasing life saving organ donation.
Posted on June 10, 2008, in Universal Health Care and tagged Facebook, Health, Heart transplantation, LifeSharers, organ donation, Organ transplantation, Southern Methodist University, United States. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.