The Moral Case for Organ Markets

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Here’s a succinct, beautifully-argued piece from Matt Welch.

Excerpt:

Every day, eighteen people die in the United States while waiting in vain for a kidney transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation. The Department of Health & Human Services reports that nearly 92,000 patients were on the kidney waiting list as of April 6 (up from 66,000 six years ago), but that only 16,812 transplants were made in 2011. That deadly math is part of the reason that, according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 380,000 Americans are on dialysis, a punitively expensive and physically grueling death-postponement procedure. The imbalance cannot be meaningfully addressed via cadaver-harvesting alone . . .

So we know that maintaining prohibition—letting the law be guided by our moral revulsion toward placing price tags on human organs—will certainly increase the body count. We know that boosting the number of kidney donations from the living is the only real way to whittle the waiting list down. And we also know, from such procedures as egg donation, that legalizing monetary rewards is a guaranteed method for expanding the pool of living donors. Your morality may vary, but mine says that sentencing more than 6,000 people a year to an avoidable death falls well short of the Golden Rule.

A few additional thoughts:

With kidneys, and also with vital organs, you could also envision markets that, for example, would pay a smaller sum while you’re still alive if you sign to donate your organs when you die. Another plan might give larger sums to your family once you’re dead, should you die in a manner in which your vital organs remain viable. It also isn’t difficult to imagine “organ brokers” finding that there’s a market advantage to protecting their donors—for example, by including clauses in donor contracts stipulating that any  kidney donor who later encounters health problems requiring a transplant would receive a free kidney,  a paid-for transplant, and move to the top of the donor list—not because organ brokers would necessarily be kind and benevolent, but because if I were donating a kidney, I’m thinking that would be one of my primary concerns, and I’d probably chose a company or system or non-profit that could give me that peace of mind.

The most common argument against organ markets is that they’ll exploit the poor. That’s basically an appeal to equality. There’s nothing wrong with putting a high value on equality. But if your vision of equality includes letting thousands of people die so we can be confident the poor aren’t being exploited by entering into voluntary transactions in which they’re paid for one of their kidneys, I’d argue that you’re putting far too much emphasis on equality. It’s true that we’re all equal when we’re dead. That doesn’t mean it’s a desirable outcome. The argument is also fairly paternalistic, in that assumes that poor people aren’t capable of making these decisions on their own, so the rest of us should impose the correct decision upon them.

We already let people donate kidneys. We considered them heroes. And with good reason. They’re saving a life. But if the same person accepts compensation for the organ, a large chunk of the population suddenly considers the whole exchange somewhere between tacky and hideous. It doesn’t seem to matter to most people that legalizing the process would result in more lives saved, the very reason why we find donors heroic in the first place.

But the fact that money exchanges hands doesn’t change the end result. Someone still gets a shot at at life that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. I’d submit that if you’re ready to use the force of law to condemn people to die years, possibly decades, earlier than they otherwise would, all so you aren’t burdened with icky feelings about living in a country where organ donors are compensated, it might be time to reassess your principles.

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45 Responses to “The Moral Case for Organ Markets”

  1. #1 |  SJE | 

    The paternalistic protecting the poor argument also falls apart when you consider that we rarely hear similar moral certainties against paying people to do filthy dangerous jobs that endanger their lives.

    We don’t preach to coal miners, fisherman and sewage divers about their moral goodness for doing their jobs but ensure that these jobs are pretty well paid.

    We do preach to the soldiers, but no one is saying that they shouldnt be paid at all, and do try to look after them. They get lifetime medical care. Even so, the military often struggles to get recruits without paying them more.

    Yet, offering to pay a kidney donor, or offer them some assurance that they will be top of the list if they suffer, or guarantee them medical care, is somehow “predatory.” Sorry, but thats just BS

  2. #2 |  Al | 

    The argument about exploitation of the poor is actually more concerned with the forced removal of organs from healthy people – typically in developing countries with weak governments and institutions to protect its citizens – and traded by third party brokers who seek to cash in on the demand for organs in rich countries. There is absolutely no historical support for believing that this market would stay in the US and involve only the trade of US derived organs.

  3. #3 |  Irving Washington | 

    How much for a liver?

  4. #4 |  PeeDub | 

    I have a similar but opposite theory that we shouldn’t pay teachers, because the real teachers would do it for the love of teaching alone.

  5. #5 |  freedomfan | 

    I’ve paid attention to this for a while, and I have yet to hear an argument that wasn’t based on emotion, either straight-out squeamishness or class envy.

    Inevitably, someone claims that the system would be “ghoulish”, usually without explaining how it’s any more so than the current system, nevermind that “It’s ghoulish!” is an aesthetic judgement, not an argument.

    Then someone will start up with “only rich people will get organ transplants.” But, of course, the bottleneck for transplants is lack of donor organs more than cost and the current transplant procedure already involves substantial costs well beyond paying the donor. So, that argument just begs the question of how non-rich people are getting transplants now. Regardless of the specific answer, however the procedure is paid for now should be able to pay for it under a system when organs are actually available. Which brings us to the more substantial argument: The straightforward economic fact that is there will be far more organs available for transplant under a system that allows compensation and any such system still won’t ban uncompensated donors, so there should be even more organs available for those who can’t afford to pay.

    BTW, the “protecting the poor donors” argument falls pretty flat, since no one seems to have any issues with poor people donating organs without compensation. Either way, the donor gets to choose whether or not to donate and it’s interesting that the anti-compensation crowd seems to think that choice shouldn’t be available to poor people if it’s one that might benefit them financially.

  6. #6 |  Picador | 

    “And we also know, from such procedures as egg donation, that legalizing monetary rewards is a guaranteed method for expanding the pool of living donors.”

    This is an overstatement. We do not know that it is a “guaranteed method” of anything. Donating an egg is not the same thing as donating an organ, in about a half-dozen very significant ways. Indeed, a number of studies have shown that gift economies (like organ or blood donation) can in fact collapse when a monetary incentive is introduced. I donated blood every two months for many years while living in the US out of a sense of civic duty; if the blood donation market had been based on monetary compensation, I doubt my contributions would have been nearly so regular. Similarly, I am presently an organ donor, but I might have second thoughts if I thought I wasn’t being properly compensated in a money-based organ donation system.

    That being said, yes, I agree with you that a carefully planned and managed system of financial incentives for organ donation would almost certainly boost numbers. For this reason I support such efforts. But this kind of hyperbole about “guaranteed methods” is uncalled for, and it’s the kind of thing that confirms the stereotypes of libertarians as reifying neoclassical economic theory over actual, empirically-established facts about human behaviour and economics.

  7. #7 |  abhisaha | 

    The last three paragraphs are some of the most beautiful prose you have ever written. Thanks.

    I would quibble mildly about this: “That’s basically an appeal to equality.”

    The best arguments against a legal organ market appeal not to equality but to a notion of human dignity. The arguments are similar to certain arguments against legalized prostitution. Ultimately though, they are both unconvincing for the reasons you cite.

  8. #8 |  MRK | 

    My argument against allowing people to donate organs is simple:

    Poor people are more likely to donate an organ for money. Poor people are also more likely to to develop health problems as they get older, and may be unable to afford advanced medical care in their later years. Especially if they are missing a kidney. So it turns into “I’ll give you $10k now for your kidney, but you may wish you had it later when you need a new kidney and its going to cost $50k in medical expenses. Since the poor person is probably also on some kind of goverment medical assistance program, the cost will be deferred to the tax payer.

    So really it costs the tax payer LESS if we disallow payment for organ donation.

    IMHO what would be worthwhile is if people who are registered organ donors (after death; heart, liver, etc) can designate a beneficiary for a financial sum after death. Which may spur more people to become organ donors, but less issues about exploitation.

  9. #9 |  Radley Balko | 

    Indeed, a number of studies have shown that gift economies (like organ or blood donation) can in fact collapse when a monetary incentive is introduced.

    Do you have links to these studies?

    The only country I know of that has created a market for kidneys is, oddly enough, Iran. And they eliminated their waiting list 10 years after doing so.

  10. #10 |  Radley Balko | 

    The argument about exploitation of the poor is actually more concerned with the forced removal of organs from healthy people – typically in developing countries with weak governments and institutions to protect its citizens – and traded by third party brokers who seek to cash in on the demand for organs in rich countries.

    Which goes on now, while organ markets are illegal. Yes, buying and selling organs forcibly removed from people would still go on if organ markets were legalized. But it would also still be illegal. And with more overall organs on the market, the trade wouldn’t be nearly as lucrative.

    There is absolutely no historical support for believing that this market would stay in the US and involve only the trade of US derived organs.

    Well of course there isn’t. There’s no historical data of any kind on legalized organ markets in the U.S.

  11. #11 |  abhisaha | 

    @MRK
    “So really it costs the tax payer LESS if we disallow payment for organ donation.”

    I am not sure if this is what you intended, but your argument sounds like you are advocating a principle on the lines of — a regulation/law that costs the tax-payer less in the long run is good.

    That sort of reasoning works in many cases but falls short when there are other non-monetary things at stake. In this case, lives saved (of the receivers). You have to find a way to incorporate that in your argument.

    For instance here is another argument:

    “My argument against allowing poor people without a job to live is simple:

    Poor people are more likely to not pay taxes. Poor people are also more likely to to develop health problems as they get older, and may be unable to afford advanced medical care in their later years. Since the poor person is probably also on some kind of goverment medical assistance program, the cost will be deferred to the tax payer. If they do not have a job, they are also not contributing anything to the economy.

    So really it costs the tax payer LESS if we kill poor people who do not have a job. ”

    Doesn’t sound very good, does it?

  12. #12 |  HoldingTheFire | 

    Organ donation on death should be opt-out, not opt-in like it is now. Then there would be a lot more organs for everybody.

  13. #13 |  MRK | 

    @11–

    Allowing poor people to sell their organs offers them a short term gain, versus the risk of a long term cost that greatly exceeds the short-term benefit. This is all out of direct concern for the poor. I see it like a predatory “payday loan”, except the hidden cost is deferred over 30 years.

    I’m trying to not turn this into a morality question, but a purely financial one, as the original article emphasizes. I’m certainly not saying any law that reduces taxpayer expense is a good one, they are much better ways of saving money.

    The reduced cost to taxpayers is just a side benefit. Another way to phrase it would be “allowing people to sell their organs may increase the cost of low-income medical assistance”. Spending money helping people who sold their kidney is money not spend on people who didn’t sell their kidney.

  14. #14 |  Kevin | 

    From an exchange I had earlier on the subject…

    Death is a part of life. And as long as we do our utmost to survive, and our best for our fellow human beings, this unattractive scrabble for organs-at-any-cost is not seemly.

    To which I responded…

    Not seemly?

    Not seemly?!?

    *cracks open a dictionary*

    ======
    seem·ly

    adj. seem·li·er, seem·li·est

    1. Conforming to standards of conduct and good taste; suitable: seemly behavior.
    2. Of pleasing appearance; handsome.
    ======

    To be clear, you’re advocating that thousands of people every year be forced to die (because if not for your interference, they could live) and hundreds of thousands be forced into disability because the method of saving their lives is “not seemly”. The sob-story children you just brought up should suffer that fate because it’s “not seemly”. Because it isn’t superficially pleasing to you, they should be prevented from helping themselves… because it’s “not seemly”. Not because it’s dangerous, or might have unexpected consequences, or for any other rational reason, but because it doesn’t look good. Because it’s not seemly.

    I may be a robot, but you might be a monster. That’s probably one of the worst things I’ve ever read. Simply terrible.

    I think a lot of arguments against organ markets are incorrect and, really, just stupid on their face; but they don’t really get much of a rise out of me. I treat rebutting them like I would treat correcting someone’s incorrect math problem.

    But something about the fact that “Eeeeewww!!! Grooossss!!!” does all the leg work for the anti-market crowd to horrific effect just makes me so angry. Of course, then the same people will tell me they need to pick my pocket so that they can preserve some strangers’ ‘human dignity’.

    *head explode*

  15. #15 |  Radley Balko | 

    Allowing poor people to sell their organs offers them a short term gain, versus the risk of a long term cost that greatly exceeds the short-term benefit.

    There’s no research to support this. From what I’ve read, what research is available (which isn’t much, given how long this has been an option). there’s very small increased risk (01 – 1.0 percent) of developing kidney disease if you only have one kidney.

  16. #16 |  Eric | 

    I know I bring this up every time you write about organ donation, but it seems to fit here again. My dad donated a kidney to a family friend and though it was a great success and both people are healthy ten years hence, it was really pretty appalling how difficult the process was for him. All things considered I think it was not even a break-even proposition. So you need someone who is sufficiently altruistic that they will give both a lot of their time and even some of their own money to help someone else and put themselves at a higher risk (however slight) in the future.

  17. #17 |  Al | 

    Shouldn’t we try:

    1. Let people have to opt out of organ donation and make organ harvesting the default

    or

    2. Allocate organs first to persons (and their minor dependents) who have opted to be organ donors and create the incentive for people to do so.

    I take the point about the issue of illegal trade and exploitation of the poor..

    If we do go for the Iranian model, my understanding is that it is highly regulated by the government with one mandated rate for the kidney, state funded transplant surgery and heavily subsidized state distribution of immunosuppressive drugs.

    http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/content/1/6/1136.full

    By all accounts this has been successful, on balance. However, would this model even get a hearing in the US?

  18. #18 |  EBL | 

    Personally I have no problem with offering cash for organs. George Washington, BTW, paid for people’s teeth to use as dentures (no his were not made of wood). It was a common practice in the 18th century.

    If people are so bent out of shape about a market, you have a fund and if someone dies you offer a flat fee for organ donation to that person’s immediate next of kin if a person meets certain profiles (the most desired organs are from young healthy people). You do not have to buy organs from living people. You can create incentives to increase organ donation from accident victims.

    Organ donation generally has to be quick after someone dies. So make it easier.

  19. #19 |  EBL | 

    Al is right. Make it an opt out rather than an opt in. Just don’t watch Touristas before you make that decision!

  20. #20 |  EBL | 

    You can structure fees for whole bodies (such as for medical schools). For single organs. Or for all organs that can be used, but still leaving a body to bury or cremate. So long as there is a mechanism to say no (even if it requires an affirmative opt out), I do not see the problem.

    The cost of paying for the organs is nominal compared to the cost of the medical procedures themselves and even more in the lives that can be saved or greatly improved.

  21. #21 |  Brandon | 

    Who owns my body?

  22. #22 |  MRK | 

    @15 – Radley

    You’re right, there isn’t much research about the likelihood of developing kidney disease if you only have 1 kidney.

    However there is ample research indicating chronic kidney disease is more likely if you are poor (google it).

  23. #23 |  HGL81 | 

    Radley, I’m not really speaking for Picador, but this kind of study could be what he’s talking about:

    Writeup (the excerpt halfway down): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89233955
    Actual Study: rady.ucsd.edu/faculty/directory/gneezy/docs/fine.pdf

    Basically, they found that adding a fine to tardy parents at daycare actually *increased* the number of late parents. The theory is that by replacing a social/moral norm (don’t be late to pick your kid up because you have an obligation to the teachers) with an economic norm (don’t pick your kid up late because you’ll have a fee) actually weakened the sanction effect.

    It’s obviously not directly analogous, but it’s at least plausible that by introducing monetary incentives, the dampening donations from people who feel their donation is no longer altruistic could be greater than the boosting effect from people who want the money.

  24. #24 |  freedomfan | 

    The organ donor system needs to remain opt-in, not opt-out. The default should be that you own your organs. When you pass on, ownership of your organs, like the rest of your estate, should be determined by your will, or your DNR, or some normal inheritance system (perhaps with an expedited process for organ donation). It should never be the default that the government gets stuff that would otherwise go elsewhere when you die. And, FWIW, I say that even though I think it’s a terrible waste for healthy organs to rot in the ground or be cremated.

    BTW, at least where I live, it is trivially easy to opt-in to the organ donor program; just checking a box on the form for a driver’s license or state-issued ID is all it takes. If people aren’t willing to do that, then there may be some other problem afoot, like an actual preference not to donate. It seems like a public-awareness approach to persuade people to opt-in would be far less onerous than a system whereby presumptive organ harvesting is the default.

  25. #25 |  Ron | 

    #21, Brandon: Who owns my body?

    Years ago, Walter Williams was sitting in for Rush Limbaugh on his radio show. (It’s amazing that Rush would let a libertarian voice on his show, but hey, to his credit he does…) This topic came up, and one of the ‘Dittoheads’ called in to voice his opposition to selling organs. The caller said the idea “cheapens life”. Walter popped him with ol’ reliable — “who owns you?” — a question that Limbaugh listeners and conservatives as a whole don’t seem to give much thought.

    The question stopped the caller in his tracks. Walter continued by saying that the test to determine if you own something is to find out if you can sell it.

    I wonder how many people would suddenly understand that they truly are libertarians when they ask themselves that magic question…

  26. #26 |  Sam | 

    Is the issue so much the exploitation of the poor as it would be the transformation of the market from one that steers organs toward those on a list to one that steers organs toward those with the most money? It seems grim indeed to condemn the lower the classes – who at least had a chance on the old list system – to lower priorities, simply because they don’t have the means to purchase what they need in a marketplace that’s literally deciding life and death.

    And before anybody starts, I recognize that the answer is going to be, “Better than 1000 rich people live to see tomorrow than 999 rich and poor people…” but to reduce a situation this grave to one of bank accounts?

  27. #27 |  Mattocracy | 

    The issue is self ownership. I think most people here agree with that concept.

    People should be free to put what they want to in themselves, whether it’s drugs or alcohol or cheeseburgers.

    People should be free to sell themselves sexually of they want.

    Women have so much self ownership, they can decide to terminate a pregnancy if they want.

    The idea that we should outlaw organ selling because people might make decisions you don’t agree or that you think that free exchange equals exploitation is pretty demeaning. It’s the same flawed reasoning people use to justify all kinds of prohibition.

    This kind of reasoning is rejected when it comes to drug prohibition, rejected when it comes to prohibition of prostitution, and it should be rejected when we talk about prohibiting organ selling. If you own yourself, you should be free to sell it if you want. End of story.

  28. #28 |  Delta | 

    Skeptical that “6,000 people a year” would be able to afford the going rate for vital organs. As an initial guess, I might think, oh… around 1% of that number?

  29. #29 |  Kevin | 

    Re: Delta #28

    Skeptical that “6,000 people a year” would be able to afford the going rate for vital organs. As an initial guess, I might think, oh… around 1% of that number?

    If only there existed some financing mechanism wherein individuals could pay regular premiums towards covering high-cost, low-probability expenses, such as those associated with procuring and transplanting organs, so as to avoid financial ruin in the case of emergencies. Some kind of… insurance… for heath expenses.

    Of course, if such a maddening thing ever did exist, politicians would be behooven to peck it to death legislatively until it was no longer an economically efficient arrangement for anyone involved.

  30. #30 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    #29 Delta wrote:

    Skeptical that “6,000 people a year” would be able to afford the going rate for vital organs. As an initial guess, I might think, oh… around 1% of that number?

    Under the status quo, the surgeons and anesthesiologists get paid hefty sums for the transplant. Basically, everyone except the guy who gives up the raw materials. How would you feel about giving the donor 15% of the book cost of the transplant? Like a fixed percent coded into law. You’d probably be entitling them to more than a market rate for a kidney for common matches. Not many people need kidneys each year. A market price would likely be shockingly low. Ultimately, that would be the part that would be most difficult for people to stomach. Like the teenager in China who traded a kidney for an iPad and an iPhone. That’s probably close to the market clearing rate in black markets.

  31. #31 |  EricL | 

    #30 is exactly right.

    Everyone in the healthcare chain gets paid for their services, the surgeons, nurses, transport teams, and hospitals all get their cut of the costs involved in harvesting and transplanting the organs. The only person in the entire system who is not compensated for their contribution is the person donating the damn thing. That’s a travesty.

    If we’re so concerned about altruism in the organ donation system, organ transplants should cost nothing, with the hospitals providing facilities gratis, the nursing and organ transplant teams (including airborn transports) volunteering their time and efforts, and the physicians providing their services pro bono. Until all of that happens, this altruistic donation system we so revere is little more than rent-seeking behavior that exploits both the donating patient and the recipient (or, more accurately, their insurers).

    Let people be compensated for their organs and you turn this exploitation into a beneficial system in which both the donor and the recipient are truly assisted, rather than being used.

  32. #32 |  Gordon Clason | 

    I used to be an organ doner. My drivers license has a spot to sign as “organ doner”. My will used to say “organ doner”. Not anymore. When the government got into the act and began regulating the market in organs, I opted out. I will not under any circumstances let bureaucrats decide what to do with my organs.

  33. #33 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Some reading I did a while back leads me to believe that cloning organs (and just organs) is going to be possible in the near future. At which point this debate with be ashcanned, and we start the debate on whether and how much to charge for keeping a file of your cloned organs against need.

  34. #34 |  Katie L | 

    Why are there so many more people in need of organs today? Admittedly, this is just a guess, but I think it’s due to diseases associated with obesity. The only person I’ve known to need a kidney transplant has type II diabetes, an entirely PREVENTABLE and practically curable disease. Her own choices have determined her need for the kidney (not some freak accident, or random infection). While I don’t want to be someone who wants to “let 66,000 people die” I also resent that she plowed through her own organs and has nearly ruined the donated kidney just because she wants to eat junk and “be happy”. Many of her medical expenses are covered by Medicare and Medicaid. While this discussion is useful, I’d like to see a discussion that includes incentivizing people to be healthy and stay healthy since the people who need organs need them from healthy people. There is not only a shortage of donor organs, but based on the health of average Americans, there is a shortage of healthy potential donors!

  35. #35 |  Sam | 

    Gordon,

    Great plan! You’ll really show those desperately in need of what you no longer do their folly.

  36. #36 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    There’s a big difference between the two cases you postulate, Radley.

    A market for living donors is one thing (which I oppose)
    One where compensation is allowed for post-mortem donation is another (which I support)

    They’re not the same problem in bioethics at all!

    (Also, bluntly, a person’s wishes should be overriding – a lot of organs, when someone’s indicated they will donate before death – are not harvested because the family objects!)

  37. #37 |  Les | 

    For those of you who oppose compensating living donors, I would certainly appreciate it if you would answer the question posed above:

    Who owns your body?

  38. #38 |  Comrade Dread | 

    People already “voluntarily” agree to terms and contracts without understanding the full implications of them. They’re often written by lawyers in legalese that is nearly incomprehensible (or incomprehensibly long and boring to pour through) to ordinary folks without legal training.

    I’m not convinced that allowing people to enter into contracts involving the sale of their body parts wouldn’t lead to a lot of abuses.

  39. #39 |  SJE | 

    I do not think that this should be entirely free-market for a variety of reasons, but subject to some reasonable regulations at the state or local level. The reason I oppose entirely free market solutions are
    1. A contract between a donor and recepient should have some additional backstop, in case the recipient cannot pay etc. e.g. if I enter into a contract to sell a kidney on the condition of cash and lifetime medical coverage, I don’t want the recipient to stop paying my medical when he dies. You need a large insurance market.
    2. Related to (1) the government already pays a large amount for health care, and could be liable for costs of indigent donors.
    3. Quality control. If you sell me a crappy cell phone, I won’t purchase from you again. If you sell me a bad kidney from someone with HIV, I die. I want more than contract law enforcing quality. For those who say that the solution to bad medicine is lawsuits, I point to the many wealthy lawyers and the high cost of medicine in the USA as a suggestion that this is not the best solution.

  40. #40 |  HGL81 | 

    The “who owns your body?” thing seems a much more persuasive argument at first blush than I think it actually is. Having a right to X doesn’t de facto include the right to transfer/alienate it to someone else. This is the whole idea behind “inalienable rights”.

    We have a right to vote, but we don’t allow people to buy or sell that right, for instance.

    More specifically to the “who owns your body?” question, we don’t allow people to sell their own bodies into slavery, even though they have a right to autonomy. I believe even Robert Nozick in The Examined Life came around to being against voluntary enslavement contracts, though I’d have to re-check it.

  41. #41 |  Ryan P | 

    @HGL81,
    Do note that the Israeli daycare experiment has been called into question, as it seems the data collection methods may have been somewhat dodgy.

    In addition (and has been argued above), I would think Iran’s experience with compensating kidney donors, or even our own experience with egg donations (another body part that doesn’t regenerate) seem much more relevant than what may or may not have happened in some Israeli daycares

  42. #42 |  Delta | 

    #30: “How would you feel about giving the donor 15% of the book cost of the transplant? Like a fixed percent coded into law.”

    Definitely sounds more reasonable to me. So would compensation for post-mortem organ donations.

  43. #43 |  Delta | 

    #25: “The caller said the idea ‘cheapens life’. Walter popped him with ol’ reliable — ‘who owns you?’ — a question that Limbaugh listeners and conservatives as a whole don’t seem to give much thought. The question stopped the caller in his tracks. Walter continued by saying that the test to determine if you own something is to find out if you can sell it. ”

    Seems like an excellent reply would be: “No one owns me.”

    Can I sell myself into slavery?

  44. #44 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @38 – Well, in theory at least in English law, any legal agreement has to be written in plain english. It’d be nice to see that enforced a lot harder than it is… (EULA’s are usually tossed not for that but for being contracts of adhesion)

  45. #45 |  Mike Schilling | 

    I’m waiting for the Heritage Foundation’s report saying that there is no poverty in America because 70% of “poor” people still have both kidneys.

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