Your Congress at Work

by on April 2, 2007 at 8:17 am in Medicine | Permalink

A new bill would give organ donors a medal.  In other words, millions for medals but not a cent for compensation.  If people weren’t dying it would be funny.

Thanks to Dave Undis at LifeSharers for the link.  Unlike Congress, Dave is really doing something to solve the organ shortage.

Dan April 2, 2007 at 9:48 am

“With this medal, the federal government will recognize the unselfish act of donation.”

Most ironic sentence ever.

I can’t believe the government values the satisfaction of unpaid donors who want to feel compassionate more than the lives of sick people.

Daniel Klein April 2, 2007 at 10:52 am

Wow, what a bill. Getting a person to accept a medal is like getting him to declare that he gladly views his person the property of the state.

Person April 2, 2007 at 12:31 pm

Alex_Tabarrok, I think you’re being unfair to ignore the efforts of individual states. Georgia, for
example, will refund $7 of your driver’s license fee if you agree to be a donor.

Let’s give credit where credit is due.

Bastiat April 2, 2007 at 12:53 pm

@Mobile: Furthermore, if the medals are made of gold, this could be a transition step toward a gold standard of currency.

Yan Li April 2, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Omigod, that sounds like a Purple Heart granted on consignment.

srp April 2, 2007 at 5:19 pm

The silver lining here is that this bill fights the view that any live donations among unrelated persons, even if unpaid, are illegitimate. There are actually doctors and hospitals who discourage altruistic live donations from unrelated parties. They think that anyone who gives an organ away is being “coerced” or is suffering from psych problems or should be required to give only to the next person on the list.

So lauding live donors with a medal, given the unbelievable policy disaster we now face, is actually an improvement on the margin.

Seth Roberts April 2, 2007 at 11:13 pm

Maybe it’s a case of “She Stoops To Conquer” — whoever introduced this suffers ridicule but draws attention to the problem.

Daniel Lurker April 3, 2007 at 12:50 am

I agree with Mobile. The bill COULD set the stage for the market based solution libertarians are dreaming of, in spite of the legislature’s intentions. Lots of bickering has gone on about what a market in organs might look like, and many have mentioned that encouraging donations is an efficient way to save lives and we should expect non-profits with the goal of saving lives at the lowest possible cost to step in.

Sure, the medals will probably be of low quality, and we don’t live in the Soviet Union, so social norms aren’t the same and you’d look like a naïve dork to wear one while shopping for groceries. But look at what the medal does – even if it looks like it came out of a Cheerios box, it still shows that the transaction took place. A gave B a pancreas or whatever, and the government says so. Government can’t do much, but they can handle binaries. Social Security is far more complex and the process (though certainly not the structure!) is effective. Counterfeiting military medals is a federal crime, and the over punishment has a deterrent effect. Make counterfeiting the new medals a crime as well (Add your favorite stock law and econ torture scenario here. Make it unconstitutional, just for kicks!).

An added benefit is that a market in medals would make the situation seem less icky by making it more abstract. Think of the casino gambler who is (in their mind) not playing with money, but chips. One wouldn’t be paying for organs, they’d be paying for compassion, peace, love, and puppies :).

Libertarians should focus on pragmatic, piecemeal reforms. Perhaps not by encouraging the medal over alternatives, but if they bill is getting serious debate it only makes sense to support it and gently try to push for drastic punishment for counterfeiting and against any last minute bio-ethicist inspired prohibition on resale. Then work with foundations that have expressed interest in increasing organ donation and convince one of them to offer a cash bounty. Outsource marketing to a firm full of MBA’s that have never heard of Mises or Hayek and have them come up with a silly, effusive advertising campaign that would never work on people like us. “Money for Medalists† or something.

gmiller April 6, 2007 at 11:13 pm

Donors are not likely to care about a medal. People will be influenced by knowing others involved in the wait for an organ or by awareness of those that donated and helped others. The donor share program where donors or their family members get first choice over non-donors is a great idea!

wslmwps August 14, 2007 at 3:59 am

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新潟デリヘル February 14, 2009 at 4:09 am

The website, the married woman, mature woman 新潟デリヘル (delivery health, morals) [official website] is a madam in Niigata..

likaida March 11, 2009 at 4:35 am
likaida March 11, 2009 at 4:37 am
likaida March 11, 2009 at 4:38 am
likaida March 11, 2009 at 4:41 am
likaida March 11, 2009 at 4:46 am
likaida March 11, 2009 at 4:49 am
likaida March 11, 2009 at 4:50 am
likaida March 11, 2009 at 4:51 am
China Flowers January 18, 2010 at 12:59 am

The weight/gem value of the medals are adjusted periodically in response to surplus/shortage of organs, and the weight/gem value of medals varies according to the demand, I mean, social benefit of the specific organs that are donated.

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