NJ. Com | James Stacey Taylor
Photo: In 2009, Dr. Stuart Geffner used laparoscopic devices as he removed a kidney from donor Barbara Mastroianni during an 8 way kidney donation chain at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.
A disturbing new statistic was published recently in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation: While African-Americans are approximately four times as likely to be treated for kidney failure than whites, they are the group least likely to receive a kidney — at every transplant center in America.
Approximately 70 percent of all cases of kidney failure in African Americans can be prevented through eating well, drinking water and staying physically active. Diseases such as kidney failure that are associated with obesity seriously strain the budgets of public health care programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.
There is no quick fix for the economic consequences of obesity. But the disparity in kidney transplants experienced by African Americans suggests there’s an important way to substantially reduce the health care costs associated with those who remain obese: legalize a market for human kidneys.
The cost to taxpayers of treatment for people suffering from kidney failure is staggering: In 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available), almost 7 percent of Medicare’s budget — some $29 billion — was spent to treat fewer than 1 percent of Medicare’s beneficiaries.
Read more: http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2012/07/legalize_market_for_transplant.html