Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Transplant: The Dead List

There are probably fifteen thousand or more people in the United States on the Kidney transplant waiting list. Many of these people will die before they ever get their transplant operation. This upsets a lot of people who lose family members, this causes problems for a lot of people. So why won't they even attempt to fix the problem?

Its because the taxpayers pick up a lot of the cost of a transplant operation.

What? You ask, isn't it really because there aren't enough organs available?

No. If they really wanted more people on the waiting list to get kidneys they could easily do it without any problems whatsoever. That is correct, there is a simple solution to the so-called "kidney shortage". But do not expect the problem to be fixed especially if we see a government take-over of the healthcare system.

The problem is not the kidney its the cost. The cost of the operation that often ends up being paid through taxes of one kind or another. The bureaucrats in charge of everything keep people dying instead of giving them transplant to save numbers on a budget line item. Sorry, its not in the budget just go home and die.

If the insurance company, hospital or even the person needing the transplant were allowed to pay $500 or $1,000 for an organ, there would be a vast surplus very quickly. The amount is small compared to the cost of the operation. The problem comes from people who do not have insurance or who cannot pay the costs out of pocket. That is when bureaucrats take control and they have dictated that organ donations not be encouraged.

This is just one more reason why we should go the exact opposite direction than nationalizing the system. We should encourage competition, allow hospitals to create their own plans and sell them and to allow tax-free Medical Savings Accounts. We also need some tort reforms because lawsuits and defensive medicine have added nearly as much cost to healthcare as have health coverage mandates.

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