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Organs for sale?
San Francisco Chronicle | 12/29/01 | David R. Henderson

Posted on 01/04/2002 11:19:01 AM PST by Magician

Both buyers and sellers would prosper if willing donors were allowed to sell their kidneys, livers and other body parts

AT ITS winter meeting in San Francisco, the American Medical Association voted by a narrow margin to table a proposal to study the effect of money on donations of human organs. That's too bad, because allowing the sale of organs would increase the number of them available, and could save thousands of lives a year. In the year 2000, more than 76,000 people in the United States were on a waiting list for a kidney, liver, pancreas, heart, intestine or lung transplant, or for a transplant of some combination of these organs, according to www.ustransplant.org.

The number of people who actually get transplants in a year is about one third of the number waiting for them. In 2000, less than 23,000 of the people on the list got the organs they were waiting for. And nearly 6,000 people died while awaiting organ transplants.

Even those who don't die have hard lives compared to what they could have with transplanted organs. And here's the bitter irony: According to the United Network of Organ Sharing, only one third of potentially valuable organs from people who die are donated. The rest are buried with the dead. If somehow, we could persuade people before they die, or their loved ones immediately after they are dead, to give up their organs, we could eliminate the shortage. But how can we do that?

Many doctors have recognized that the answer is to give potential organ providers the same incentive we give to doctors, nurses and virtually everyone else in the medical system: Allow them to charge.

No one would be surprised at the lack of doctors if we insisted that doctors perform their services for free. Similarly, considering that the federal government has banned the sale of body parts, we shouldn't be surprised at the shortage of organs.

The supply of organs has depended on people's benevolence, and benevolence hasn't been enough. If people don't see a gain for themselves in giving up body parts, they often don't. But if they can sell their organs, they suddenly have a strong reason for making sure that they have filled out all the right forms before dying. Being able to sell their body parts is like being given a substantial life insurance policy for free.

You might think that's a cynical view of mankind. But insisting on being paid before giving up body parts is no more cynical than insisting on being paid for that other major item your body produces, namely, your labor.

What are the objections of those who would fine or jail people who want to sell or buy organs? Phyllis Weber, executive director of the California Transplant Donor Network, says that most donor families she talks to are offended at the idea that financial incentives would make a difference. But they're the wrong ones to ask. Their generous behavior shows they're not the ones whom money would motivate. For many others, a financial incentive might well matter. One of the biggest shortages is of kidneys. Interestingly, we don't really need that spare kidney while we're alive.

Some opponents of organ sales fear, quite plausibly, that allowing the sale of organs would give poor people an incentive to sell their spare kidney. But notice what this means: Preventing poor people from selling a kidney makes them worse off. If organ sales were legal, some poor people could quickly come up with a down payment on a house. Even some middle class people might spring for the cash. In all cases, both buyer and seller would gain.

Dr. Michelle Petersen, one of the AMA convention attendees who opposed organ sales said, "I have a problem with treating the body and the human as property."

No she doesn't, unless she opposes allowing people to donate their organs. She just has a problem with people being able to sell their property. Don't blame the AMA. Blame the federal government, and in particular, Al Gore who, as a congressman in 1984, sponsored the bill to make organ sales a crime.

And go beyond blame. The AMA will vote in June on whether to study a free market in organs. Let's encourage the good doctors not only to study the issue but also to push Congress to end the ban on body part sales. The lives of thousands of people are at stake.


TOPICS: Editorial; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS:
WOW! Can we also get futures markets going on the Chicago commodities exchanges?
1 posted on 01/04/2002 11:19:01 AM PST by Magician
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To: Magician
Good Article
2 posted on 01/04/2002 11:24:23 AM PST by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: Magician
I'm looking for a piano!!
3 posted on 01/04/2002 11:48:25 AM PST by Nitro
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To: Magician
"If somehow, we could persuade people before they die, or their loved ones immediately after they are dead, to give up their organs, we could eliminate the shortage." And just how long would it be before someone killed off a loved one to sell the organs? Or, sell someone's organs even after the dead person has left explicit instructions not to?

And if someone sells their kidney and the only one left goes bad what then? Are they going to pay for the new kidney they'd need? No, their insurance company (you and I) would.

Higher premiums so that someone can sell an organ to put a down payment on a house? No thanks.

4 posted on 01/04/2002 11:53:46 AM PST by Bikers4Bush
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To: Magician
I thought this was already being done in India and, involuntarily, in China.
5 posted on 01/04/2002 11:54:57 AM PST by balrog666
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To: John O; GussiedUp; ElConservadorLoco; Mulder;DWSUWF;bopepper
ping
6 posted on 01/04/2002 11:58:54 AM PST by vikingchick
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To: Bikers4Bush
"...And just how long would it be before someone killed off a loved one to sell the organs?..."

Why a loved one?

My farther was appalled when heart transpalantation was first done. As an experienced crimianl defense attorney, he was certain that people like the Mafia would simply knock off someone if the Capo di tutti Capo needed a new heart.

7 posted on 01/04/2002 11:59:46 AM PST by Magician
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To: Bikers4Bush
I am always amazed at the number of people that believe the State owns your body and must dictate how you use it.
Hypocrites!
8 posted on 01/04/2002 12:06:08 PM PST by Fish out of Water
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To: Magician
O.k. how about loved one or someone that you're the legal guardian of. If there's a finacial benefit I'm guessing the survivior would also have to be the beneficiary of any estate.

Of course our worst fears could be realized and the hospitals could open drive through windows where people could just drop off random organs and get cash for them on the spot.

Money for organs is a bad, bad idea.

9 posted on 01/04/2002 12:07:17 PM PST by Bikers4Bush
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To: Fish out of Water
I you're saying that I'm a hypocrite I'd like to know how.

Another thought was that if they're going to allow people to sell their organs then they'll have to allow people to rent their bodies as well ala brothels. That would definately be hypocritical, you can sell your organs but not the sexual one's.

10 posted on 01/04/2002 12:20:55 PM PST by Bikers4Bush
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To: vikingchick
Thanks for the ping. This goes to prove that the AMA are idiots in addition to traitors (their anti-gun efforts).

Selling organs for $$$ is a great idea, and until implemented there will continue to be an "organ shortage" (no surprise there).

My body belongs to me, and I should be able to do with it as I please. If that means donating a kidney for $$$$, that's my choice.

11 posted on 01/04/2002 12:27:12 PM PST by Mulder
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To: Magician
Are you calling me a pork belly? :)
12 posted on 01/04/2002 12:29:14 PM PST by lds23
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To: Bikers4Bush
I don’t know how you can support a less intrusive Government and still believe the Government owns you. If the State owns your body then you have nothing but a few temporary privileges granted by the Government out of the goodness of it’s heart. If the individual owns his body then it is his to use and sell however he decides is best.
13 posted on 01/04/2002 12:37:02 PM PST by Fish out of Water
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To: Fish out of Water
I don't believe the government ownes me or my body. At the same time I think that I have a right not to be penalized for the idiocy of others.

If perfectly healthy people start selling organs there are medical implications not the least of which are infection and recovery.

As a result MY insurance would go up. You can't possibly dillute the costs associated with these types of things and nobody knows what would happen down the road. Sure you make $5,000 now but what if complications down the road result in expenses that the donor can't afford? Answer, it hits me in the pocket book not you.

14 posted on 01/04/2002 12:43:29 PM PST by Bikers4Bush
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To: Nitro
I've got a Wurlitzer for $75.
15 posted on 01/04/2002 12:46:52 PM PST by rabidralph
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To: Bikers4Bush
Your thoughts dont mean Jack S--t to the persons family who donated me my new heart. Because they were and still dead.
16 posted on 01/04/2002 12:57:30 PM PST by cksharks
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To: Bikers4Bush
How about an insurance program where I am covered for
any needed body parts in return for donating my own when I die?
17 posted on 01/04/2002 12:59:00 PM PST by rector seal
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To: Bikers4Bush
Without Government interference Insurance companies would raise rates appropriately for those selling their own Kidney. Most of what is being discussed would be allowing the sale of organs from a dying patient upon death so that the dying patient can leave something to his heirs. Since the patient is dead at the time his organs are taken there will be no further insurance costs.
18 posted on 01/04/2002 12:59:16 PM PST by Fish out of Water
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To: rabidralph
I thought that was juke-box!
19 posted on 01/04/2002 12:59:32 PM PST by Nitro
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To: Bikers4Bush
If perfectly healthy people start selling organs there are medical implications not the least of which are infection and recovery.

As a result MY insurance would go up.

Not really....the costs associated with the obtaining of the organ, including recovery and treatment of complications like infection would be covered, one would hope, by the purchaser.

In fact, insurance companies could, and likely would, exclude coverage for donation related costs. Similarly, to answer an earlier concern, if the donor later needed, say, a kidney to replaced a failed remaining one, then those costs could also be excluded.

Of course, the government could mandate that companies include coverage, as the government already does for various conditions and treatments, but then that's a problem with government, not with the concept of me owning my body and using it as I wish.

20 posted on 01/04/2002 1:01:40 PM PST by RJCogburn
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To: cksharks
That may be but I'm more concerned about living donors and the fact that the person who donated your new heart did so instead of selling it is a tribute to them.

I'm curious to know how you would feel about it if it was a situation where you're new heart was up for bid and your insurance company lost the bid to someone else's insurance company or the other persons insurance was willing to pay more.

The reality is that if you start selling organs then you have to let value be determined by the free market and we'd all lose out to the Saudis.

I hope that you and your new heart are getting along well.

21 posted on 01/04/2002 1:03:23 PM PST by Bikers4Bush
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To: rector seal
Then you're not selling them but trading them in.
22 posted on 01/04/2002 1:04:03 PM PST by Bikers4Bush
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To: Fish out of Water
And like I said in another post I'm primarily concerned with the living donor theory.
23 posted on 01/04/2002 1:04:58 PM PST by Bikers4Bush
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To: Bikers4Bush
If you believe in the free market and look into its operation you find that it increases supply and decreases price. Since food is essential for life why not have Government supply it so that the rich don’t bid the price up and out of reach of the rest of us. The result of this organ program would be to increase the supply thereby benefiting many more people than the current system.
24 posted on 01/04/2002 1:15:06 PM PST by Fish out of Water
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To: Magician
Ever read any of Larry Niven's "Tales of Known Space"?
In his future society, before the discovery of a booster spice to prolong life indefinitely, the market for organs was so large and under-supplied that convicted criminals that had been given a death sentence were used for organ donation. It eventually got so out of hand that the penalty for jaywalking was escalated to...death.


25 posted on 01/04/2002 1:25:11 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts
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To: Magician
Organs for sale?

Bill Clinton is looking for a new nose. Willard is looking for a straight .......well! you know what he's looking for

26 posted on 01/04/2002 2:13:48 PM PST by boothead
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To: vikingchick
LOL You just HAD to do it!!! ha ha
27 posted on 01/04/2002 2:51:27 PM PST by GussiedUp
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts
"...criminals that had been given a death sentence were used for organ donation..."

No one likes executions. Maybe a sentence of "organ donation" would be more appealing to the anti-death penalty crowd.

/sarcasm

28 posted on 01/05/2002 2:48:06 PM PST by Magician
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To: Magician
"Maybe a sentence of "organ donation" would be more appealing to the anti-death penalty crowd. "

Aw there ya go gettin' all PC on me. Blech!
Maybe the anti-death penalty crowd should be careful not to get ticketed for jay-walking. (In Niven's universe, that is.) =;^)


29 posted on 01/05/2002 3:00:25 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts
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To: Magician
There was an episode of 'The Simpsons' in which Homer sank all his money in pumpkin futures. He did not try to sell them until after Thanksgiving and lost every cent.

Confronted with his house payment;

"Wait, wait! I can do this. I will sell one of my livers.
I can live on just one!" :)

30 posted on 01/05/2002 3:13:23 PM PST by LibKill
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To: Magician
Well, this would open a big can of worms... maybe if it were only posthumous?
31 posted on 01/05/2002 3:30:49 PM PST by Teacher317
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To: Magician
Oh my heavens! It's true!! Organs for sale!!
32 posted on 01/05/2002 3:34:41 PM PST by coloradan
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To: Fish out of Water
Two points. 1.) Everyone needs food not everyone needs and organ transplant. 2.) There aren't a large number of people with religious objections to eating. There are however a large number of people with religious objections to donating their organs and those people aren't going to change their minds because you dangle cash in front of them.

Once you start paying for organs costs will go up, "prices" will go up and some POS lawyer will find a way to circumvent a persons right to NOT have their organs removed and sold.

If you want to increase donations then you have to educate AND get the church involved. Organs should not become commodoties.

33 posted on 01/07/2002 4:05:31 AM PST by Bikers4Bush
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