Wednesday, January 9, 2019

More commentary on the shortage of transplantable kidneys, and compensation for donors

The recent editorial by McCormick, Held and Chertow continues to attract comments.  Here are three more.

From the Washington Post:
What if we paid people to donate their kidneys to strangers? by Megan McArdle.

"What if a simple policy could save tens of thousands of people every year from a deeply unpleasant treatment followed by early death? A policy that would disproportionately help the most disadvantaged? While actually saving taxpayer money?

"That’s a pretty rare combination; presumably you’d be pretty excited. But what if the policy involved paying people to donate one of their kidneys to a stranger?

"Possibly you are now less excited. Possibly you are now picturing a sci-fi dystopia where the poor serve as organ farms for the wealthy. Which is what such people as Gabriel Danovitch worry about.
“It’s about health and welfare,” says Danovitch of his transplant work. “We’re not talking about a financial interaction.”

"But . . . aren’t we? Transplant surgeons make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for their work. In fact, everyone in the operating room except the donor is getting handsomely rewarded.

"And indeed, payments to health-care providers can distort patient care, sometimes harming patients. Yet no one suggests moving to an all-volunteer health-care system, because the distortions introduced by paying providers are infinitely preferable to what would happen if we refused to pay them."

From Vox:
Study: the kidney shortage kills more than 40,000 people a year. You can help.
By Dylan Matthews
"If there were enough kidneys for everyone in the US who needed one, we could save 43,000 lives every single year.

"That’s the conclusion of researchers Frank McCormick, Philip Held, and Glenn Chertow, in an editorial published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrologists.

From the Volokh Conspiracy:
Laws Banning Organ Markets Kill Even More People than Previously Thought
New analysis finds that thousands more die every year because the law forbids purchase of the kidneys they need to survive.
Ilya Somin

"The injustice of status quo policy is more than just a matter of failing to help people in need. It is the equivalent of actively killing them. Consider a situation where Bob needs to buy food in order to keep from starving. Producers are willing to sell him what he needs at market prices, but the federal government passes a law saying that it is illegal to sell food for a profit. Bob is only allowed to acquire such food as producers are willing to give him for free. If Bob starves as a result, the government is actively culpable for his death. It cannot claim that it was merely an innocent bystander who refused to help him in his time of need. The same point applies if the government (or anyone else) uses coercion to prevent people from selling organs that ESRD patients need to live."

I'm reminded of earlier posts by these conspirators:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

and this 2007 essay in the Harvard Law Review:
Medical Self-Defense, Prohibited Experimental Therapies, and Payment for Organs
Essay by Eugene Volokh

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