Yesterday I got a bit carried away in my post on organ donation. I didn’t say it in that post because it seemed fairly obvious to me that the reason it’s verboten by Uncle Sam is to ostensibly protect individuals from being exploited for their organs. To me that seems like it would simply force the practice underground, whereas I think it would be better to have it out in the open and regulated for the safety of all parties involved. (I think the same thing about prostitution, as you might guess.) I am not aware of a thriving black market for human organs in the United States, however such markets exist in other countries.
Anyway, the whole point of yesterday’s post was to mention baby steps towards creating a legitimate market for organs. A Jerusalem district court ruled that Israeli HMOs must pay kidney donors NIS 63,000 (~$14,300) to cover their expenses, but it stopped short of saying whether they’re allowed to pay for a kidney:
The Western world generally forbids organ trade. In Israel the ban came in a directive by the CEO of the Health Ministry. But Jewish law (halakha) does allow payment for organs and even considers selling one to be a mitzvah.
In a precedent-setting ruling on Monday by the Jerusalem District Court, Judge Joseph Shapira instructed HMOs to pay 31 kidney donors NIS 63,000 each to cover expenses. Shapira stipulated that the ruling is not on the more fundamental issue of whether payment should be allowed for the kidney itself.
An interesting ruling. But since most kidneys are donated by living relatives, it would almost seem a little odd for an HMO to be giving money to the donor outside of expenses. It would seem like it would be the responsibility of the private parties to handle that sort of thing.
I believe Levitt is wrong in his blog post on the topic when he says that these people are getting an extra $13,000 in their pockets. It reads to me that the Israeli HMO’s are merely covering the expenses of the second party involved rather than allowing them to take home some extra pocket cash. How do you all read it?
[tags]Medicine, organ donation, economics, healthcare, Israel, ethics[/tags]