Poll: Americans Show Support for Compensation of Organ Donors
The shortage of organs for transplant continues to grow, despite years of work to get more donors on board.
Facebook jumped in this month by making organ-donation status something you could add to your profile. And the social media giant made it easy to connect with a registry to sign up as a donor.
Federal law bans payments for organs. But given the need, we wondered what Americans thought about compensation for three kinds of donations that can be made while people are alive: kidneys, bone marrow and a portion of liver big enough to help someone whose liver is failing.
So we asked 3,000 adults across the country as part of the NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll, and here’s what they told us.
If compensation took the form of credits for health care needs, about 60 percent of Americans would support it. Tax credits and tuition reimbursement were viewed favorably by 46 percent and 42 percent, respectively. Cash for organs was seen as OK by 41 percent of respondents.
Among people who said some form of compensation was acceptable, 72 percent said it should come from health insurers, followed by private charities at 62 percent and the federal government at 44 percent.
For all forms of compensation, rates of support tended to fall among older respondents.
There’s been longstanding resistance to compensating donors financially in this country. There are concerns about exploitation and also worries that even small amounts of compensation would undercut a system that depends on altruism.