There is an organ shortage crisis in the world, especially for kidneys and livers, resulting in approximately 6,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. There is also a health care crisis in the United States, with roughly sixteen percent of the population uninsured, resulting in approximately 18,000 deaths annually. In 1984, the National Organ Transplant Act ("NOTA') banned the acquisition of human organs in exchange for valuable consideration, primarily to prevent the exploitation of poor people--those who are most likely to sell their organs. Transplant professionals are increasingly pushing to legalize the outright sale of human organs from living donors. This movement is gaining momentum and is likely to garner the necessary support of policymakers to amend NOTA to allow the exchange of human organs for valuable consideration. If such exchange is permitted, this Article posits that living organ donors should be able to receive only non-cash consideration in exchange for their organs-specifically, life-long, comprehensive health care. This would minimize the health care crisis in the United States and continue to prevent the exploitation of poor Americans. This proposal would also effectively reduce the number of deaths in the United States due to the organ shortage while simultaneously reducing the number of deaths caused by the lack of adequate health care. To advance such a proposal, NOTA must be amended to allow for an exchange of human organs for the valuable consideration of life-long, comprehensive health care.
Jennifer M. Smith, "Dirty Pretty Things" and the Law: Curing the Organ Shortage & Health Care Crises in America, 12 Chap. L. Rev. 361 (2008)