Good Grief! Who ever would have thought it? A sensible idea seriously being considered by politicians?
THE Dutch health minister, Ab Klink, is considering a recommendation to offer free health insurance for life to anyone who donates a kidney for transplant.
A leak of the proposal last week sparked a debate in the Dutch press as to whether it represented the first step towards a trade in human organs. Critics warned that it may put pressure on poorer people to give up their organs.
The scheme was welcomed by transplant campaigners. Bernadette Haase, the director of the Dutch Transplant Foundation, said: “If it is properly run and well organised, it could be a solution.”
A survey commissioned by the Erasmus medical centre in Rotterdam suggested that the idea would enjoy significant support. It found that up to 15% of the public said they would probably be willing to donate a kidney if they received compensation.
Professor Willem Weimar, who helped to conduct the survey, said potential donors were asked whether they would prefer €50,000 or free health insurance. Up to 80% chose the insurance.
Others called for more radical ways of ending the donor shortage. Andries Hoitsma, a professor of surgery, called for a regulated free market in kidneys with prices of up to €50,000.
As I\’ve noted before, there\’s one country in the world without a kidney shortage. Iran. There\’s also one country in the world with a paid and regulated market in human kidneys. It isn\’t a coincidence.
But don\’t cheer too loudly for this outbreak of common sense. They are, after all, only reversing the previous bad policy. For it is the ban on the trading of organs that the politicians themselves imposed which has led to the problem in the first place.