Update: As of 6:20pm CST, Google has 1,120 hits for it. Word spreads fast.
Satel's points, examining Gavin Carney's position (bold comments mine):
- "He would have the government repeal the ban on kidney sales so it can purchase and distribute organs to patients languishing on dialysis." A laudable goal. But at what cost?
- "Because of the global organ shortage, thousands of patients die unnecessarily each year for want of a kidney." True.
- "And because organ sales are illicit, corrupt brokers may deceive indigent donors about the nature of transplant surgery, cheat them of payment, and ignore their postsurgical needs and long-term complications." Also true, unfortunately.
- "The only way out is to increase the supply of available kidneys – whether by a cash payment to potential donors or through some other form of compensation." I think the main problem I have with this - that donations should not necessarily be paid for - is, ironically, at odds with my worldview. I believe, based on faith and evidence, that man is inherently evil; therefore, altruism can only go so far, and not very far at that.
- "But the prohibition policy urged on these countries [such as China, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Qatar] will only end up pushing organ markets further underground, or cause them to blossom elsewhere. World health authorities should direct their passion toward promoting a legal apparatus for exchange." This is the author's central point. (tongue-in-cheek alert) It certainly took her long enough to get here.
- Misconception #1: the proposed system of paying donors (is that an oxymoron?) will replicate the evil side of capitalism. "[The] goal is a regulated, transparent regime backed by the rule of law and devoted to donor protection." Sure. But how do the relevant authorities plan to implement that?
- #2: "Another misconception is that a compensation system inevitably preys on desperate people." Again, the authorities have a goal for that. Hm.
- #3: "Would prospective donors lie about their health to be eligible for compensation?" Satel's answer? "An irrelevant worry in the context of regulated exchanges, since they would have to undergo rigorous medical testing over several months, which is the standard of care for altruistic donors."
- The grand conclusion: "The way to stop illicit transactions – and the depredations of underground markets – is to sanction legal exchanges."