NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 8, 2004

President Bush signed the Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act in April, which authorizes federal grant money to cover donors' medical expenses. Since then, states are finding ways to help ease the financial stress of organ donation.

Some allow organ donors to deduct travel expenses and lost wages incurred when undergoing surgical procedures for organ donation. Wisconsin's law is a model followed by other states, say observers:

  • Living organ donors can deduct up to $10,000 in travel, lodging and lost wages related to organ donation from their state income taxes.
  • The deduction applies to liver, pancreas, kidney, intestine, lung and bone marrow donations from living donors.

While the tax deduction is not designed to profit donors, it does cover out-of-pocket expenses. Such an incentive might encourage more would-be organ donors, especially when so many transplant recipients are waiting, say observers:

  • More than 87,000 people need organ transplants.
  • About 17 patients die each day waiting for organ transplants.

Ten other states currently have tax-deductible organ donation programs in place, with five more states introducing bills next year.

Source: Rachel Emma Silverman, "A Tax Break for Your Kidney," The Wall Street Journal, December 1, 2004.

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