It sounds at first blush like the ultimate in crass capitalism, but a new study suggests that paying people $10,000 to donate a kidney would actually cut down on health care costs in the long run, ease waiting lists, and improve the lives of patients, reports NBC News. The Canadian researchers say that even if donations ticked up a modest 5%, that would save $340 per patient, thanks mostly to reduced dialysis costs. If donations went up 20%, it would save about $4,000 per patient, reports CTV News.
“We don’t have enough organ donors coming forward,” says the lead author of the study from the University of Calgary. “We shouldn’t throw out, out of hand, solutions that could increase donations.” One US transplant surgeon isn't swayed. “If we paid $10,000, a lot of altruistic donors would say that it’s just a cash transaction. Donations could go down.” It's all hypothetical for the time being, because paying for organs remains illegal in the US, Canada, and most everywhere else. (Read more kidney stories.)