When I made the choice to donate a kidney to a stranger, I began the process as a non-directed donor — meaning I was prepared to let Northwestern Memorial Hospital choose my recipient for me. I immediately began to have misgivings about this approach.br> TRANSLATION: I WANTED TO DONATE A KIDNEY TO A LIBERAL. Does this kind of sanctimony make you as nauseated as it makes me? I have been on the other side of this Internet tease. I did a one-week trial with Matchingdonors.com. I wrote to four people of my blood type who stated on the site that they were willing to donate to anyone. The site’s internal messaging system confirmed that my messages had been read.
What if my kidney wound up inside a registered sex offender or a violent ex-convict….I was less interested in saving the sickest person I could find and more interested in saving the life of someone who could make a difference in the world once his or her health was restored to normal.
…I found the posting of a Chicago woman named Brenda for whom I felt a great deal of empathy. She was young, aspired to have kids and worked as a domestic violence court victim advocate for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
I heard from no one.
I don’t know what Matchingdonors.com charges for the privilege of “playing God,” as Mr. Simon so accurately puts it. But it costs about $700 for a “lifetime” membership for would-be recipients. I’ve been getting e-mail blandishments from the site ever since my trial membership. They have slick phone salespeople to try to persuade you to buy those “lifetime” memberships.
Here’s the rub: If Mr. Simon and his like are “less interested in saving the sickest person I could find,” that sickest person is left to die. Twenty percent of dialysis patients die every year. I’ve had one close call myself this year.
IN 1972, THE GOVERNMENT STRUCK A DEAL with private insurers. After three years of treatment, Medicare would take over insuring End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients. That also qualifies most ESRD patients for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Being in a weakened state, most of us take it.
As usual, the government had no idea what it was getting into. In its first full year of operation, the ESRD Medicare program was spending $229 million. By its tenth year, the program costs exceeded $2.5 billion. By 1997, that cost had ballooned to $15.64 billion. Most of this money goes toward maintaining dialysis patients. Transplant saves Medicare about 60 percent post-transplant, assuming a ten-year period, because, 36 months after getting a successful transplant, transplant recipients stop receiving Medicare payments. Transplant patients mostly return to normal lives (as I did for 20 years). Nearly two-thirds of dialysis patients, especially those with diabetes, find themselves unable to do any more than support their daily personal needs.
THIS IS A PUBLIC POLICY ISSUE, LIKE IT OR NOT. It makes sense for government to encourage transplant, as opposed to long-term dialysis, simply on the basis of cost outlay. But it also makes social sense, because transplant recipients lead transparently normal lives, working, paying taxes, raising families, contributing to the general welfare.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?