What is remarkable here is the sequence that linked 30 people "who were willing to give up an organ to 30 who might have died without one," and none of the 30 donors actually knew the person receiving their kidney. True, each donor after Mr. Buzzamenti had offered to give a kidney to a relative or friend in need, but was unable to do so because of incompatibilities which would have caused the operation to fail. Each donor had then agreed that, if someone else donated a compatible kidney to their intended recipient, they would donate their kidney to another patient, thus "paying it forward" in a life-saving chain, stranger to stranger. Chain 124, as it was called, is one of many that have been put together by the National Kidney Registry, the brain child of Mr. Garet Hil, a business executive whose own young daughter had needed a kidney transplant. It is a marvel of modern medical science combined with complicated computer algorithms which screen potential donors and recipients on many levels of immunological compatibility in order to find the best possible matches. After all the science, however, the entire system ultimately depends on trust.
I am thrilled to be a guest blogger here at Blue Virginia (even more thrilled to be one of the millions who helped turn Virginia Blue)! I love my day job - as a primary care physician, I share in the lives of my patients, and derive great satisfaction in helping improve their lives and health.
I had the privilege of being invited to stand with President Obama on March 3rd in the East Room of the White House as he began to close the deal on the passage of health reform. He was as inspiring as ever, reminding us why passing the bill at hand will improve the lives of Americans that need reform the most.
Since that day, patients have been much more open in asking me why I support reform. And while I am adamant about keeping politics out of my relationships with my patients, I am happy to provide some education about what is in the bill.
For years, I have been fighting insurance companies who try to deny care to patients. For years, I have been volunteering in free clinics, helping those who are denied care or who cannot afford it. For years, I have been frustrated watching patients skip medical care due to skyrocketing costs. This bill will begin to change that for 31 million Americans who will have the opportunity to have health insurance - no longer denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and - through insurance exchanges and subsidies - will find coverage affordable.
So I can tell my patients I have 31 million reasons to support this bill. I became a physician because medicine is about healing. Somewhere along the way, the health care delivery system went astray - now "medical loss ratios" and "recission" are part of the national dialogue. How did we let this happen, in the richest nation on Earth? I feel there is a moral imperative to extend coverage to all of our fellow Americans, so that their suffering can be alleviated. This bill will begin to stop the greater than 44,000 pre-mature deaths that occur each year in our country due to a lack of health coverage.
This bill will benefit Virginia greatly. I live in Congressional District 1, belonging currently to Congressman Whittman - who I have met with a few times, only to be confounded by the slippery reasons he gives for voting against this reform. In my district alone, the bill will improve coverage for 556,000 people. It will give tax credits to purchase coverage to 138,000 families and 16,000 small businesses. It will close the Medicare drug coverage "donut hole" for 104,000 people. And it will help get coverage for 21,000 district 1 residents.
Tom Perriello deserves great praise for his "yes" vote in district 5 for reform, while Glenn Nye and Rick Boucher need to hear from you! Check out your district at: http://energycommerce.house.go...
I tell my patients I became a doctor to help people. This bill accomplishes exactly that.
If not now, then when?