More Death by Government

The U.S. government is killing people.  But this isn’t in reference to drone bombings in foreign countries.  This is in reference to sick people in the United States.  You could call this a war on cancer patients.

The Health and Human Services (HHS) is trying to make it a criminal act to compensate bone marrow donors with a modest gift.  One nonprofit California organization wants to offer a scholarship, housing allowance, or a gift to charity in the amount of $3,000.

The problem here is the National Organ Transplant Act, which bans the trafficking of human organs.  In other words, you aren’t allowed to sell a kidney to someone.  It is basically done through donations and waiting lists.

Bone marrow donations are far less invasive though.  With medical technology advancing, it is a rather low risk procedure and the marrow will actually replenish itself in the human body over a period of several weeks.

With about 20,000 Americans each year who could use a bone marrow transplant, there is a shortage of donors.  It would make sense to offer money or rewards to donors to increase the supply.  And $3,000 is a rather cheap price when you compare the cost of just a one-night stay in the hospital.

Socialism Doesn’t Work

Unfortunately, too many people accept the fallacy that it is wrong to have a profit motive when dealing with something as sensitive as human organs.  This causes a lot of needless death and suffering.

Why can’t someone sell his or her own liver or kidney?  Do they not own their own body?  Or does the government own their body?  Maybe it doesn’t seem right that someone would profit off of a sick person, but isn’t that what doctors do all the time?

I don’t think we would see a situation where just anyone would be selling an organ for a few extra bucks.  It would be a big decision for most.  But there might be people in desperate situations who really do need money more than a working organ.  Why not allow them to enter into a voluntary transaction and help save someone else’s life?

One thing many people fear is that only rich people would be saved.  They don’t think that is morally right.  You have to allocate resources in some way.  In a free market system, it would be allocated by price.  In the current system, it is allocated by waiting.

In the current system, there is no pricing system.  As with any good or service in the market, this leads to distortions.  In this case, it leads to major shortages.  This means many people are dying because they can’t get replacement organs.  There is a lack of supply.

Some people think you can’t apply economics to life and death situations.  I would argue that it is more crucial than ever to apply economics when it is a life and death situation.  People are needlessly dying because of the current laws.

If people were allowed to voluntarily give up an organ for money, then prices would likely come down quite quickly.  And there would no longer be severe shortages.

Maybe the rich people would get taken care of first, but that usually happens anyway.  There is still medical insurance.  There are still charity organizations.  If a poor guy needs to scrounge up $30,000 for a new kidney, he will probably find a way if it is a matter of life and death.  The government has no qualms about putting someone into $200,000 of student loan debt, so I don’t know why someone couldn’t take out a loan to save his own life.

In the case of bone marrow, I’m sure most patients would be more than happy to pay $3,000 to get what they need.  But in this case, it isn’t even the patient paying for it.  This just shows the absurdity of the law and also how most laws end up going much further than what was ever conceived when passed.

In conclusion, organ socialism does not allow for a price system, which leads to massive shortages.  This kills people.  The people who don’t like profits are responsible for this.  It is those who support the free market and voluntary transactions who are really the compassionate ones.