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  • Race in America: The Transplant Gap

    The Chicago Tribune has an extraordinary piece on the disparity in treatment between African Americans who suffer from kidney failure vs. just about everyone else in America:

    With transplant lists growing, it can be daunting for a person of any race to get a life-sustaining kidney. But many African-Americans face additional hurdles—whether it’s piecing together insurance to cover expensive anti-rejection drugs or searching for loved ones healthy enough to serve as living donors.

    The result is a glaring racial disparity in which many black kidney patients remain on dialysis, a treatment associated with lower quality of life and higher death rates.

    African-Americans account for 37 percent of people receiving dialysis but make up only 19 percent of the transplant population, according to the United States Renal Data System, a government database.

    Think our healthcare system isn’t broke?

    I know.  Republicans and our other friends on the right will say that we all have to do our part, provide for ourselves, and the private market and charities are somehow supposed to respond and pick up the slack, miraculously insure everyone.  Wealth is supposed to “tricke down” as Ronald Reagan once dreamed.  Cut taxes, and people have more to give away.

    Except they don’t give away.  The rich get the tax breaks and buy more yachts.  Government has to step in to make sure people find the basic treatment they need.

    I’ll grant that the United States Constitution does not say we have a right to privacy — except for those rights guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment.

    But we do have a right to life.