Let People Buy and Sell Organs!

I’ve posted about this before.

Today I saw another great article by Jeff Jacoby trying to argue for common sense in organ donation regulations.

There are many anti-market policies and regulations that result in harm. But, this one is so breathtakingly stupid and deadly that I find myself embarrassed to live among large numbers of people who approve of it.

Here’s some sense from the Jacoby article:

No one would dream of suggesting that medical care is too vital or sacred to be treated as a commodity, or to be bought and sold like any other service. If the law prohibited any “valuable consideration’’ for healing the sick, the result would be far fewer doctors and far more sickness and death.

The result of our misguided altruism-only organ donation system is much the same: too few organs and too much death. More than 100,000 Americans are currently on the national organ waiting list. Last year, 28,000 transplants were performed, but 49,000 new patients were added to the queue. As the list grows longer, the wait grows deadlier, and the shortage of available organs grows more acute. Last year, 6,600 people died while awaiting the kidney or liver or heart that could have kept them alive. Another 18 people will die today. And another 18 tomorrow. And another 18 every day, until Congress fixes the law that causes so many valuable organs to be wasted, and so many lives to be needlessly lost.

Jacoby may be a little optimistic with his “No one” estimate, but the point is valid.

I understand that it’s natural and common to think that there’s something wrong with body parts being bought and sold. But, it seems clear to me that anybody who reasonably weighs the costs and benefits of prohibiting such a market would realize that the costs are much higher.

We’re told that we’ve thankfully removed the religion-driven, irrational, stupid, policy makers from dominance. Ok, so let’s see some smart policy-making!

I’m waiting.


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