Financial Incentives for Organ Donation in the United States
Gandhi, Kristin E.
Like most countries, the United States faces a shortage of organ donors, and the need for donations continues to exceed the number of organs available for transplantation. Patients die every day while waiting for a new heart, liver, kidney, lungs, bone marrow, or other organs/tissues. While few can argue against the need for initiatives aimed at increasing the rates of organ donations in the United States, debates persist among policymakers, stakeholders, and the public about whether programs allowing financial incentives for organ donations should be implemented in the United States. This thesis explores current laws in the United States as they relate to organ donation and transplantation, noting prohibitions against financial incentives and what the current law terms as "valuable consideration," and studies positions of various stakeholders and scholars on incentives in general and on proposed laws written with the purpose of increasing organ donations in the United States.The thesis focuses in part on the topics of economics and ethics as they relate to organ donations, and, more specifically, as these topics relate to financial incentives for organ donations. The thesis examines arguments both for and against the concept offinancial incentives, ultimately proposing that there are sound ethical and economic reasons to support financial incentive programs in the United States. Using examples ofpolicies implemented in other countries to increase organ donations, particularly a compensation program implemented in Iran, as well as policies implemented and considered in China and Israel, the thesis argues that similar policies can be implemented safely and ethically in the United States. The thesis also examines specific financial incentive proposals set forth by scholars in the United States which detail programs that would use many components that are already in place, such as proper screening of donors, while adding the provision of payments by a third party (for example, the federal government).Finally, the thesis concludes by setting forth a detailed proposal for a financial incentive program that could be implemented in the United States, using some of the concepts set forth by others. The thesis determines that some stakeholders (the same stakeholders who have spoken out against financial incentive programs in general) would likely have concerns over the financial incentive program proposed at the conclusion of this paper; however, the thesis proposes that the financial incentive program would likely have such a drastic impact on increasing the number of organ donors in the United States, that the benefits to patients' lives far outweigh other ethical and moral concerns. Opponents of financial incentive programs for donors should realize the number of lives that could be saved through such programs, and should support, at the very least, pilot programs in the United States.
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Bruzzone, P (2010-05)Financial incentives for organ donation (from living or brain-dead donors) have been considered ethically acceptable by some authors and have been accepted locally in some countries. In the United States of America, eight ...