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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 19, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Gregoire signs transplant bill

Democrats deserve respect for commitment to issue

The Seattle Times’ series of articles by Kyung M. Song concerning a new state law for organ and tissue transplants has been extremely well done and highly informative.

When reading comments, however, in response to the May 15 piece [“Gregoire signs organ transplant cap into law, despite last-minute concerns,” seattletimes.com, Local News], I noticed one area where the actual facts and the impression readers had diverged.

Specifically, Rep. Eileen Cody, D-Seattle, who is also chairwoman of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, has in fact strongly supported transplant-funding reform. Notwithstanding this fact, it is true that in her committee Premera Blue Cross was able to effectuate a troublesome amendment –an amendment that caused me to cease (for a while) supporting the bill’s passage. I have expressed my concern to her.

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, has clarified legislative intent and Insurance Commissioner Mike Keidler has written that the troublesome language relates to certain complex clinical-practice issues and does not indicate an attempt to capture pre-transplant expenses as transplant costs under the new law.

I am not a card-carrying Democrat. I vote as I see it best to vote. The Democrats Cody, Keiser, Keidler and, yes, Gov. Chris Gregoire deserve great respect for their individual and collective commitment to the important health-care issue posed by organ and tissue transplants.

— John Scanlon, recipient of a heart transplant, Kent

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