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Is the Ground Shifting for Organ Donation?

A few months back, I wrote a blog post called Is America Ready for an Organ Donor Market?, and my answer was “probably not.” (The post was inspired by a pair of OpEds, one by Sally Satel in the N.Y. Times and one by Richard Epstein in the Wall Street Journal.) We subsequently wrote a N.Y. Times column of our own on the subject, with a look at several ideas for increasing the availability of organs for transplant.

As much as it seemed, just a few months ago, that America isn’t ready for a market in organs, things may be moving faster than anticipated. Last Sunday, the Washington Post ran a fairly benign but forward-looking editorial. And this past Sunday, Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber of the Los Angeles Times published a devastating critique of the United Network for Organ Sharing, which currently oversees transplants for organs throughout the U.S.

On the organ-transplant front, I would not be surprised to see the L.A. Times article move the pile a bit on this subject. On the journalism front, I wouldn’t be surprised if the article wins a Pulitzer — which is all the more impressive considering the current turmoil at the L.A. Times. FWIW, there was a great series on small-town “justice courts” in the N.Y. Times a few weeks back, by William Glaberson. It also had Pulitzer Prize written all over it.