Tax Incentives for Organ Donation

It looks like Wisconsin will soon let organ donors take up to a $10,000 tax deduction to cover travel expenses, lodging, and lost income. I have mixed feelings. I am in favor of compensating donors or their families for organ donation but the net tax break is quite small. More importantly, one of the costs of the current system is that we rely on live donors far too much. Although I encourage, respect and admire donors, we should not kid ourselves, donation is not easy and not riskless. It can take a month or more to recover from the operation. We rely on live donors to an increasing extent only because of the shortage of cadaveric donors. All else being equal, therefore, I would prefer to see financial compensation for cadaveric donation or for signing your organ donor card.


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