Here is a pretty good Washington Post story about it (with a slightly overstated headline): Under kidney transplant proposal, younger patients would get the best organs
"Instead of giving priority primarily to patients who have been on the waiting list longest, the new rules would match recipients and organs to a greater extent based on factors such as age and health to try to maximize the number of years provided by each kidney - the most sought-after organ for transplants.
"The ethically fraught potential changes, which would be part of the most comprehensive overhaul of the system in 25 years, are being welcomed by some bioethicists, transplant surgeons and patient representatives as a step toward improving kidney distribution. But some worry that the changes could inadvertently skew the pool of available organs by altering the pattern of people making living donations. Some also complain that the new system would unfairly penalize middle-aged and elderly patients at a time when the overall population is getting older.
"Under one scenario, for 80 percent of kidneys, patients 15 years older or younger than the donor would get higher priority. The remaining 20 percent of organs - those deemed to have the best chance of lasting the longest based on the age and health of the donor and other factors - would be given to recipients with the best chances of living the longest based on criteria such as their age, how long they've been on dialysis and whether they have diabetes.
"But others worry that the changes could reduce the overall number of organs available for transplants or inadvertently further shift the matches between organs and recipients by affecting living donors, who are not regulated by UNOS. Some relatives who would have donated a kidney to a young patient might now decide not to, for example, putting pressure on other relatives to donate kidneys to older family members. In addition, the changes would do nothing to address the wide variation in waiting times in different parts of the country.
"If we really want to improve things, we need to address the variation in access to transplants based on geography," Ross said. "This factor, more than any other, would increase the overall number of life years gained from kidney transplantation."
Some argued that a better solution would be to give recipients the option of choosing what donor kidneys to accept.
"Some younger people may accept a donor that is higher risk and may not last as long if they could get it sooner," said Richard Freeman, chairman of surgery at Dartmouth Medical School. "It should be more patient-based and less driven by absolute gain in life years."
Others questioned the formula that would be used to match patients and organs. Because the system would be more complicated, it could backfire by creating suspicions of cheating, eroding confidence and reducing organ donations.
"It works well enough the way it is, and everyone understands it, which is important to maintain the public trust," said Benjamin Hippen, a kidney specialist at Metrolina Nephrology Associates in Charlotte."