Give Us a Better Reason

Published July 8, 2008

There is no big secret why organ transplant lists for minorities are scarce (“Transplant gaps keeps blacks on waiting list,” July 8). African Americans, in particular, make up half the population of kidney transplant recipients and are among the least likely to donate organs themselves. However, there is a marketplace solution to this problem. If it were legal to offer financial incentives to prospective organ donors, more individuals would be enticed.

For instance, incentives could involve offering burial assistance to the surviving family members of deceased organ donors, or even reimbursement for related medical costs.

Private organizations like Lifesharers and national groups like the United Network for Organ Sharing offer donor preference of receivers, and this helps the shortage. But their solutions are limited and society must be more creative to meet the demand for organs.

Groups like LifeSharers would flourish if donors were allowed to be financially rewarded. That is, unless Americans could not care less about the thousands of minorities who die each year waiting for a transplant.

Robin Knox ([email protected]) is a health care legislative assistant at The Heartland Institute in Chicago, Illinois.