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QOTD: Kidney Donation July 15, 2009

Posted by federalist in Healthcare, Human Markets.
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I have complained that “sexy” diseases get unfair resources, and current laws and regulations hurt the donor supply for life-saving human organs.  Kidney shortages are particularly troublesome because normal people have two kidneys but only need one.  Yet more than 80,000 people in this country alone linger on dialysis regimens and face early death waiting for a kidney donation.  Virginia Postrel elaborates:

Kidney patients ought to command the kind of outrage that demanded a cure for AIDS. The [waiting] list doesn’t have to exist. It is a result not of medical necessity or economic constraints but of public ignorance, conscious policy, and complacent institutions. Too many people are suffering unnecessarily. . . .

The obvious solution . . . is, of course, money. Altruistic blood donors often receive freebies like movie tickets or paid vacation hours that would be illegal for kidney donors. Plasma and sperm donors routinely receive cash, as do egg donors and surrogate mothers, who get tens of thousands of dollars. If transplant centers could pay $25,000 or $50,000 to each living kidney donor, many more people would line up to contribute.

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