Organ allocation always involves contestable values. New technologies of regenerative medicine will raise similar concerns. Slate’s Michael Bennett offers the following set of dilemmas at the intersection of cutting edge health care and finance:
Our society at large resembles . . . the arrangement of classes defining the experience of contemporary air travel. Will you be able to afford an economy class liver? Perhaps a business class model? Will organ markets reproduce the qualitative differences we’ve come to accept with commercial air classifications? Should organ performance track organ price? . . . If you’re underwater on your liver mortgage, it’s safe to assume you’ll be hard-pressed to walk away.
As my co-blogger Deven Desai has argued, in a world of person-machine merger, “Simply saying you signed this contract, and we can do what we like is an error.” Neither organs nor their financing should be “subprime” in the world Bennett describes.