Living Organ Donors to Receive Tax Incentives as State Senate Approves Bill

The Georgia Senate on Tuesday passed legislation designed to encourage more Georgians to donate their organs while still alive.

Senate Bill 330 is supported by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, who donated one of his kidneys to his son, who was diagnosed with renal insufficiency at the age of 24 and was forced to undergo dialysis.

In a speech to his Senate colleagues soon before Tuesday’s unanimous vote, Albers said, “This law will save lives. My ultimate goal is to reduce the [transplant] waiting list to zero.”

What do Senate Bill 330 consist of?

The Act would increase the present state income tax incentives for living organ donors from $10,000 to $25,000, bringing the total amount of the exemption to $25,000. A state tax credit would be available to businesses in order to assist them in covering the costs of up to six weeks of paid time off for employees recovering from transplant surgery, regardless of whether they are donors or receivers.

The law would also ban life insurance companies from canceling or rejecting coverage to those who donate their organs while still alive.

According to Capitol Beat, the state would incur an estimated $1.7 million in annual expenses as a result of the tax incentives. Albers claims that this is insignificant when compared to the number of tax dollars spent by the state to keep dialysis patients alive.

Incentives adhere to the values of reciprocity and solidarity

Oxford University Press (OUP) has published in their Journal of Law and the Biosciences back in August 2018 how the incentives honor certain values.

Incentives are regulatory tools used to promote and reward organ donation. It is meant to encourage people to donate organs. It helps overcome individual laziness, apathy, and other barriers to consenting. Incentives thus operate as a motivator for those who want to donate but haven’t yet.

It is a philanthropic act of solidarity by the donor or his family towards the receiver and society. The state might show thanks for this deed by providing incentives. Furthermore, by expressing thanks for a kind and solidary deed, incentives appeal to potential organ donors and their relatives on both a rational and emotional level.

Incentives also consider reciprocity, i.e. giving and getting. Donation is often viewed as a selfless act of kindness. However, sociologically, this prevalent image is inaccurate. Mauss’ research from 1923 to 1924, suggests a gift relationship is a cycle of giving, receiving, and reciprocating. The ‘Maussian gift exchange theory’ emphasizes reciprocity. Donation is not unidirectional or one-sided, according to subsequent literature.

Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, endorsed the bill but requested it is amended to include both health and life insurance when it reaches the state House. Other living donors should be included in the bill besides kidney and liver donors, according to Jordan.

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