Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Washington Post discusses compensation for organ donors

Frank McCormick alerts me that the Washington Post yesterday took the recent article he coauthored in the American Journal of Transplantation as a jumping off point to discuss the pros and cons of addressing the shortage of transplantable kidneys by allowing the government to pay donors (the article proposed that only the government could pay, and considered payments of $45,000 for a living donor kidney).

 The  WaPo starts with a general description of the opposing positions:  Compensation for organ donors: A primer.

Their brief discussion sets the stage with lots of links (and will be familiar to readers of this blog who have been following my several posts on  compensation for donors).  

They end with this promise of more discussions, which I'll link to below as they appear (spoiler--Sally Satel is pro compensation, and Frank Delmonico doesn't think it's a good idea):
"Over the next few days, we’ll hear from:
Sally Satel, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and practicing psychiatrist at the Yale University School of Medicine,
Francis Delmonico, Harvard Medical School professor of surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Alexander Capron, professor of law and medicine at the University of Southern California,
Scott Sumner, economist at Bentley University and blogger at The Money Illusion,
Benjamin Humphreys, program director at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute,

{Josh Morrison, who wasn't on the original list but is a great choice...}
Nancy Scheper-Hughes, founder of Organ Watch and anthropology professor at University of California, Berkeley."
Taking the opposite point of view (but arguing that we should do more to reduce financial disincentives to donating, by paying for donor expenses): Francis Delmonico and Alexander Capron December 29, Our body parts shouldn’t be for sale
Scott Sumner's headline and sub-headline also speaks for itself:   We can save lives and cut costs with one change in policy. 
Will lab-grown kidneys fix our transplant waiting lists?: Benjamin Humphreys is optimistic that they will, eventually.
It’s time to treat organ donors with the respect they deserveJosh Morrison is a kidney donor and the executive director of WaitList Zero, a nonprofit devoted to representing living donors and supporting living donation.

Scott Carney disagrees, on practical grounds (he thinks that a legal US market would foster badly regulated overseas markets): If you’re willing to buy a kidney, you’re willing to exploit the poor: Legalizing the sale of kidneys in America would lead to a booming black market everywhere else.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who has spoken to many black market kidney sellers, thinks that legal markets couldn't funcion much differently: The market for human organs is destroying lives We don't have "spare" kidneys. They shouldn't be up for sale.

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