When I confronted Dr. Brian Pereira of the National Kidney Foundation about that, he said, "The current system functions extremely well." I asked him how the system could be working "extremely well" when 17 people die every day because they can't get kidneys. He said that the "desperate (situation) doesn't justify an unwise policy decision."
The Kidney Foundation fears that poor people would be "exploited." But what gives the foundation the right to decide for poor people? The poor are as capable as others of deciding what trade-offs to make in life. No one forces them to give up an organ. To say the poor are too desperate to resist a dangerous temptation is patronizing.
But gatekeepers like Dr. Pereira say there should be "no barter, no sale of organs. That's where we have to step in." When I asked him who that "we" is that has the right to "step in," he replied, "The government (and) the professional societies."
That conceit -- that the government and "professional societies" must decide for all of us, and the underlying hostility toward commerce -- kills people.
Money shouldn't make giving up an organ suspect. As one kidney patient told me before he died, "The doctors make money, the hospitals make money, the organ procurement organizations make money. Everybody gets something except for the donor!"
If you think it's immoral to sell an organ, don't do it. But sick people shouldn't have to die because some people despise markets.
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