Improving compensation for live organ donors is a rare opportunity to save both lives and healthcare dollars, according to a report released today by The New Zealand Initiative.
Author Elizabeth Prasad found that every transplant provides recipients with longer and better lives, while being much cheaper than dialysis – saving the government money over the longer term.
An indicative case of a 50-year-old male on dialysis who receives a transplant would live for eight additional years, and enjoy an improved quality of life. In this example, the Ministry of Health would save more than $120,000 by providing a transplant. Benefits are even greater for younger recipients as they avoid more years of dialysis.
So taxpayers save $120,000 if someone donates a kidney to someone on dialysis.
Many potential donors cannot afford time off work to assist a loved one. Currently, financial support for donors ranges from $140 to $350 per week for 12 weeks, depending on age and marital status. The average weekly wage in 2014 was $991.
The Chris Bishop bill would see donors get the equivalent of ACC – 80% of normal earnings. So around $800 a week for 12 weeks which is $9,600.
Paying a donor $9,600 to save $120,000 in dialysis costs. A no-brainer.
Dr Eric Crampton, Head of Research at The New Zealand Initiative, said that this issue was a case where an improved health policy brought about a win-win – the health of the recipient improved, as did the outcome for the funder.
“Usually policy is about trade-offs. When the government provides a favourable new scheme, it’s either at the expense of another policy, or taxpayers’ wallets.
Yep this is rare. Normally a policy has winners and losers. Here everyone is a winner – the donor, the recipient and the taxpayer.
Chris Bishop’s bill should complete its first reading tonight.