It doesn't matter that he has private insurance. He doesn't have that one thing a person of his color with a last name ending in a vowel needs to get a kidney transplant.
He doesn't have a green card.
Jesus Navarro of Oakland, Calif., is going to die, and soon, unless he gets a kidney transplant. But he can't have one.
It's not for the lack of a donor. His wife has volunteered her kidney to save her husband's life.
It's not for lack of insurance. He was fired from his job at the Pacific Steel Foundry in Berkley, a job he held for 14 years, during a company immigration audit. His insurance is still in effect, but still. No kidney for Jesus Navarro.
The official reason? He might just hightail it back to Mexico or wherever he came from and not follow up on his care.
But don't legal immigrants, actual natural born citizens even, sometimes fail to follow through on follow-up care?
Sorry. There's a "policy." We must obey the "policy." The "policy" is more important than the life of a single human being.
According to an online story in the San Jose Mercury News
UC San Francisco declined to comment on Navarro's case, but Reece Fawley, executive director of transplantation, said in a statement that the clinic evaluates all patients for socioeconomic stability.
"UCSF's policy for financial clearance requires candidates to present evidence of adequate and stable insurance coverage or other financial sources necessary to sustain follow-up care long after transplant surgery," she said. "Immigration status is among many factors taken into consideration."
Navarro's insurance may run out soon. He is trying to extend it. If he is unable to do so, he would end up on the state's "Medi-Cal" policy. That would make things worse from Navarro's standpoint.
Though Medi-Cal will cover his daily dialysis -- which costs $17,000 a month -- because of his illegal status, it will not pay for the immunosuppressive drugs that ward off organ rejection. The drugs cost $20,000 annually. Medi-Cal also won't pay for organ transplants for illegal immigrants.
The hospital will not do the transport without guarantees that the drugs and follow-up care will be paid for.
Medical ethicists are horrified.
"He has the organ -- the critical resource -- if he can get it transplanted," said University of Southern California bioethics professor Michael Shapiro. "That's a serious chance at life."
But anti-illegal immigrant forces say the "policy" must be enforced, even if it costs Navarro his life. Which it most certainly will if he doesn't get a transplant.
"You just cannot provide care for illegal aliens without getting into uncompensated care," said Bob Dane of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
See, Dane says if you go giving kidneys to every Tom, Dick and Pedro who wants one, then their home countries lose the incentive to improve their own medical care. That's what Dane is worried about, of course. The medical care in home countries is his top concern.
The Navarros are not likely to be deported. They have a three year old daughter, born in the United States. She is a legal citizen, according to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which will provide her great comfort no doubt when her father dies for the lack of a readily-available transplanted kidney that the hospital could implant this afternoon, if not for that pesky "policy."