Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kidney donations, incentives, sales, legislation

An interview including Alex Tabarrok, Sally Satel, and Frank Delmonico, covering the range of viewpoints on the subject.

"Last year Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter floated a draft bill that could have cleared the way for states to offer non-cash incentives. ...
But groups including the National Kidney Foundation rejected Specter's proposal, now a spokeswoman for the Senator says he has no plans to introduce the bill."

Here is one draft of Senator Specter's proposed bill (on the site of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons--it was never introduced into the formal legislative process): Organ Donation Clarification Act of 2008 - Proposed Specter Bill

The current issue of the American Journal of Transplantation contains a survey of the ASTS membership, which finds that a majority of the surgeons responding support various income tax credits, insurance, and reimbursement for funeral expenses and lost wages, but oppose cash payments to the donor, donor's family or estate. (Rodrigue et al., "Stimulus for Organ Donation: A Survey of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Membership," AJT, 2009, 9, 2172-2176.

1 comment:

Dave said...

While we debate legalizing organ sales, there is an already-legal way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- allocate donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die. UNOS, which manages the national organ allocation system, has the power to make this simple policy change. No legislative action is required.

Americans who want to donate their organs to other registered organ donors don't have to wait for UNOS to act. They can join LifeSharers, a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. Non-donors should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.