Organ Rewards in Singapore

Organ Rewards in Singapore

Organ Rewards in Singapore

Science, technology, and life.
March 31 2009 12:58 PM

Organ Rewards in Singapore

Two days ago, I mentioned Frances Kissling's proposal to reward organ donors by offering them "comprehensive long-term health insurance" as well as "life and disability insurance." Kissling framed the offer not as an incentive but as "the basic safety net that a just and giving society should provide people who offer to risk their own lives to save the lives of others."

/blogs/humannature/2009/03/31/organ_rewards_in_singapore/jcr:content/body/slate_image

She's not alone. Singapore has just "passed a law allowing cash payments to organ donors," according to Agence France Presse . "Previously, it was illegal for a living donor to be financially compensated." But now "an organ recipient can voluntarily pay the donor if he wishes to help cover expenses like hospital and surgery fees."

Advertisement

And how did proponents of the legislation present it? "This is a bill about fairness, being fair to donors who do suffer financial consequences as a result of their act of donation," Singapore's health minister told parliament during the debate. "I know the controversial nature of paying donors. But we also realize that it is unfair to allow genuine donors to bear all the financial consequences of their altruistic acts."

Coverage of transplant-related medical expenses is already legal in the United States. But it'll be interesting to see whether the message from Singapore—fairness to altruists—becomes an effective argument, here and elsewhere, for more extensive compensation.