There's a disturbing story in the New York Times concerning a recent trend among major insurance companies to deny future health and life insurance to folks who are generous enough to donate an organ to someone in need.
Erica Royer, now 31, suffered kidney failure due to lupus, but her 53 year-old physically active father was able to donate a kidney to his daughter. Radburn Royer was in great shape, as are most donors, and had no history of kidney disease, so he was an acceptable donor for the procedure. But after the transplant operation, Mr. Royer's insurance company notified him that they would be unable to continue to insure him due to "chronic kidney disease".
Apparently, kidney donors test in the high range for creatine in the blood, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota is using that as an excuse to deny health insurance to the elder Royer. His nephrologist testified that his kidney was perfectly healthy, but his second appeal was also denied. According to the article, Mr. Royer is also unable to obtain life insurance now, as well.
A few boring ol' stats for you to ponder: In 2008, the last year studied, there were over 17,000 kidney transplants in America, 11,383 of which came from cadavers. As of February of 2011 there were 87,820 people awaiting kidney transplants.
If potential donors are going to struggle to find insurance after making such an unselfish gift of life, obviously there will be some who won't make the donation. Statistics show that kidney donors' life expectancy is unaffected by the donation process, and that their health concerns are unchanged as well.
Here's another little stat for you to ignore: in 2008 there were 382,343 people on dialysis in America, at a cost of over $39 billion in public and private funds. Kidney transplantation eliminates the need for dialysis in most cases. Dialysis is so expensive that a kidney transplant pays for itself in less than 2 years, on average.
Is that where we are as a society? You make a decision to save someone's life by donating a healthy organ from your body and you're rewarded by losing your health and life insurance?
Explain to me again how we have the best health care system in the world, and how the Affordable Care Act is socialism run amok.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota should be getting tens of thousands of phone calls and letters on behalf of Mr. Royer and others who have been denied health care coverage for making this sacrifice.