Dear Editor,

I’m dismayed reading your article “COVID-19: Pontotoc County case count rises to 44, 16 active” describing the ongoing impact of COVID-19. I’m a kidney transplant patient who received a new kidney eight years ago this week. I’m particularly concerned cases continue to climb in our region because it increases my chance of dying from COVID-19. 

Coronavirus is adding to the 37 million Americans affected by kidney disease as some COVID-19-survivors develop acute kidney injury, which could cause permanent kidney damage. Increasing incidences of kidney disease may end up becoming the secret legacy of COVID-19, at a time when the federal budget is not prepared to address this tidal wave of need.

Despite research showing early detection and intervention slows or stops the progression of kidney disease, the federal government spends almost nothing on kidney health initiatives. At the same time, Medicare spends over $120 billion annually — 24% of its budget — on patients with kidney failure. Why is our budget allocated to only addressing the end, when money should be spent on awareness and prevention? Taxpayers would be better served if the government allocated funding to awareness, prevention, and early intervention so patients would not advance to kidney failure requiring expensive dialysis or a transplant to survive.

I’m calling on our federal lawmakers to prioritize funding to address kidney health in the coming fiscal year.

James York, Ada

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