New Jersey Considers Providing Tax Credits for Organ Donors

A New Jersey state Senator has drafted a bill offering a $1,000 tax credit for organ donors. This blurs the line between voluntary and paid donations. Ethics groups have questioned whether providing compensation for body tissues can be equivalent to prostitution. Some doctors have also voiced reservations that payments could lead to more pressure to donate, or could cause donor organizations to withhold information about risk. Supporters of the bill note that payment bans are a primary cause of the growing black market for illegal organs. They hope that regulation could both protect donors and save lives of the people in need of a transplant.

NJ considers offering tax credits for organ donors.

Thousands Die Each Year Waiting for Organ Transplants

Gerald Cardinale, is the state Senator who introduced the legislation. He says that he came up with the idea after one friend died while on the kidney transplant waiting list, at the same time that another friend’s life was saved thanks to a successful donation. He admitted that the concept is a sensitive one, and that it may go against federal law. However, he said that the benefits of increased participation outweigh the stigma. During a press conference explaining the bill, he noted “It’s important to get something done that encourages the activity.”

Government Transplant Grants Could Save the Economy Billions

In 2015, researchers studying the effect of government compensation on donor participation estimated that a $45,000 government grant for kidney donors would supply enough organs to help everyone currently on the waiting list, as well as help another 100,000 people who are undergoing dialysis. Additionally, the cost savings would reach approximately $46 billion dollars annually, even before taking the increased quality of life for the transplant recipients. Currently at least 5000 people with end-stage renal disease die each year while waiting for an organ donor. Still, giving compensation for organs has been illegal for several decades in America and most of the world.

Iran Legalized Paid Organ Transplants to Wipe Out Long Waits

For a glimpse at how legalizing organ payments can change the lives of people needing a transplant, one only needs to look to Iran. This is the one country which allows people to sell tissues on the open market. Iran has set up two regulated centers which facilitate negotiations between sellers and recipients. The average price for a kidney is about $300, and there is no longer a waiting list. Dr. Benjamin Hippen from the Carolinas medical center in the United States has studied the system extensively, and praised the country’s ability to address a looming organ shortage without slowing the growth of donations from the deceased.

Paired Donations Offer an Alternative to Transplant Compensation

The United States is now trying to encourage donations via alternative methods. One method that shows promise is the “paired donation”. This occurs when a recipient has a volunteer donor who is unable to provide an organ to the original candidate due to tissue incompatibility. The donor instead gives his organ to a third party. Then intended recipient gets an organ from another member of the paired donation organization. This increases the number of possible matches without introducing the concept of payment.

Donor Expenses Limit Participation

One factor that limits participation in the organ transplant system is that donor expenses are not covered as part of the process. Some individuals are able to have medical coverage provided through their health insurance, and lost wages replaced by short term disability or vacation time. But many people are unable to manage the financial burden placed upon donors in the absence of compensation. More countries are beginning to reimburse donors for their actual expenses. Some also allow former donors to receive priority on the waiting list if they need to receive a transplant in the future. Unfortunately, studies have shown that these efforts do not result in increased transplant participation rates.

How Does Promoting Transplants Affect Trading?

It currently costs an average of $1.45 million dollars to cover dialysis for an end-stage renal disease patient. In the United States, this cost makes up 7 percent of the Medicare budget. By properly compensating donors and regulating the transplant system, taxpayers could save $12 billion each year. The country also would benefit from the increased productivity of healthy recipients.  If the New Jersey idea takes hold, expect the U.S. dollar to improve.