Former NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Miami Heat stand-out Alonzo Mourning, stood what seemed like a couple of feet above those around him at the Statehouse Wednesday, where he came to participate in several meetings to call for extra help for kidney patients.
Mourning, who received a transplant kidney from a relative, said that the Medigap Secondary Insurance is needed for disabled people with renal disease.
He said the bills now in the South Carolina House and Senate could help thousands of people statewide under the age of 65. Medicare allows those over 65 to purchase the insurance which allows them access to treatment including transplants without having to spend down their income to become eligible for Medicaid. Twenty-nine states have passed similar legislation.
Mourning says half a million South Carolinians now have kidney disease.
(Alonzo at the Statehouse MP3 7:33)
Alonzo at the Statehouse
The National Kidney Foundation says allowing Medigap insurance could save South Carolina $4.6 million in savings to the state’s Medicaid program over five years.
Mourning says he was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease in 2001, and he considers the day in 2003 when he received a kidney transplant from a relative to be his second birthday. Mourning says too many people are suffering financially, as well as from renal failure itself.
Joining Mourning was dialysis patient Angela Latimore of South Carolina, who said that she couldn’t see her doctors because she had not been able to pay them for previous visits.