ORGAN DONATION: Drop In Donors Spurs GOP Action
While the waiting list for organ transplants continues to outpace the number of available organs, some GOP lawmakers are proposing measures that would provide incentives for organ donation, the Washington Times reports. Although using financial incentives to encourage organ donation has long been "taboo," interest in the idea is growing. Rep. James Hansen (R-Utah) has introduced the "Gift of Life Tax Credit Act of 2000," which would provide a $10,000 refundable tax credit to the estates of people who have donated their organs for transplants. In the Senate, Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) is offering a plan that would provide $300 to organ donors' families to offset funeral costs. Specter's plan is already being tested in his home state of Pennsylvania. However, given the stipulations of the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act, which made buying or selling organs illegal, the measures are bound to stir controversy. One official at the Richmond-based United Network for Organ Sharing said, "It's a thin line between reimbursement and incentives." Hansen spokeperson Bill Johnson defended the lawmaker's bill, saying that it "would not be a breach of the ban on buying or selling organs." He added, "No one would be able to sell an organ to the highest bidder, because there would be no bidders" (Price, 4/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.