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In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the Senate passed a funding bill for live organ donors on a voice vote, after the House passed it 414-2:
The legislation would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to spend $5 million a year, beginning October 1, to reimburse qualified donors.
It authorizes an additional $15 million in 2005 for grants to states, public awareness efforts and studies on how to increase recovery and donation rates. It also would finance new programs at hospitals and organ procurement organizations to coordinate organ donations.
The Minnesota Legislature is considering a similar bill, but using tax deductions rather than direct reimbursement for donors. Either way, it represents an important and substantive support for people who selflessly give of themselves -- quite literally -- to save lives. Typically, a live donor has to undergo rigorous medical testing before surgery, and then the surgery and recovery can take several weeks. The recipient's medical insurance covers all costs, but lost time from work and incidental costs for medical supplies adds up and puts a tremendous burden on those who rely on that paycheck to get by -- which would be most of us.
Having a source of funding available to defray the costs of donating may not encourage those who won't donate at all, but it will allow those who would like to donate but are prevented from doing so for economic reasons to make the donation. I expect that George Bush will have no problem signing this into law.Sphere It View blog reactions
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