Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Health Care Reform: One More Case History

The other day there was a heartbreaking – and infuriating – story in the New York Times by columnist Bob Herbert. It was about a man who has lost both his kidneys to a serious disease. A transplant will soon be needed … or the man will surely die.

His two sons are potential donors, but there’s a problem: Any test to determine if their kidneys would be compatible with their father’s will also reveal if the same disease is latent within their bodies. And there’s a 50-50 chance they have it.

Why is that a problem? Because their health insurance company could then claim they had a “pre-existing condition” and cancel their policies. And no other insurance company would ever insure them for the same reason.

How’s that for being between a rock and a hard place? The boys want to have the tests done anyway; their dad doesn’t want them to do it, even if he dies as a result.

How can we, as a civilized society, stand by while people are forced to make choices like that?


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