A study conducted by Harvard University researchers found that approximately 17 percent of organ donors lack health insurance at the time of hospitalization. Furthermore, Americans without health insurance is twenty times more likely to donate a kidney for transplant than to receive one. But, less than one percent of organ recipients were uninsured.
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These findings published in the International Journal of Health were said to be "poignant" and have implications for healthcare policy in the United States including organ donation and transplantation. For example, the present U.S. healthcare system denies adequate care to many during life and yet in death, these uninsured often give strangers the ultimate Gift of Life.
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Transplant Recipients are covered equally (44.5 percent each) by private insurance or Medicare. Then Medicaid covers another 9 percent and 2 percent are covered by other programs. While among Organ Donors, however, insurance coverage was much less extensive. Although almost 45 percent had private insurance, just 14.6 had Medicare, and 2.6 percent had Medicaid. A fifth of the donors listed their insurance statistics as "other," which probably meant that their medical expenses were paid by Organ Procurement Organizations.
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Many Chronic Kidney Disease patients wonder, "Who are more likely to be organ donors?" Well, lack of insurance is a stronger predictor for donation than any other demographic factors, outside of age. Note that the organs of older people are more likely to be deceased and less appropriate for transplantation. The problem is that if you lack the financial resources to afford a transplant few centers will consider you as a candidate. This is still true even after the U.S. Congress adopted guidelines meant to improve equality in organ transplantation.
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The study concluded that the fact that many organ donors are uninsured dramatically highlights the lack of effectiveness in the U.S. healthcare system as a whole. The only way to surmount this problem is to adopt a national health insurance program which guarantees comprehensive and affordable care for everyone. If you agree, let your U.S. Representative and Senators know by clicking here.
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Reference: "Health News, Discussions, Articles, and Resources." Uninsured Likely Organ Donors, But Not Recipients.