Would a Regulated Market in the Sale of Body Parts Promote Consumer Well-Being?

Yes, according to Richard Posner. Posner says that people needing a kidney have to wait about six months on average. Meanwhile, they are often on expensive dialysis, which greatly diminishes the quality of their ilves. Here are some exceprts from Posner's piece:

If kidneys were salable, the waiting time for a transplant would drop precipitately, probably to zero (which is why it’s unnecessary to guarantee a donor that he’ll go to the head of the queue if his
remaining kidney fails—there will be no queue), because demand is fixed at the number of people who have advanced kidney disease, while the supply would be highly elastic since many of the world’s poor, who are in the billions, would regard giving up a “spare” kidney as a low-cost way of earning some badly needed money. The market would be worldwide because the cost of shipping kidneys long distances is negligible. * * * I imagine that the equilibrium price of a kidney would be low, and the
overall cost of treating kidney disease lower than today because there
be so much less dialysis. Hence moving to a market would not increase
overall U.S. health costs, and would in fact reduce them. Moreover,
there would be attractive income-redistributive effects. The market
solution would cause a modest shift of income from physicians and
other personnel of dialysis centers to poor people, assuming
realistically that the poor would be the principal sellers of kidneys. * * * [T]here is an important distinction between the fallacy (associated particularly with Alan Greenspan) that markets are self-regulating and a general skepticism about the efficiency of markets. Markets are self-regulating only in the Darwinian sense; competition weeds out losers, but the winners may be imposing heavy costs on society that they do not bear (pollution, for example, or the kind of macroeconomic damage that the highly competitive financial sector has caused because of its competition-driven risk taking). A market in kidneys would have to be regulated, but the regulatory challenge would be slight, given all the experience we have in the regulation of physicians, hospitals, drugs, medical devices, and surgical and other medical procedures.

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