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State tax incentives do not appear to increase the rate of living organ donation
Date:8/30/2012

The policies that several states have adopted giving tax deductions or credits to living organ donors do not appear to have increased donation rates. Authors of the study, appearing in the August issue of the American Journal of Transplantation, found little difference in the annual number of living organ donations per 100,000 population between the 15 states that had enacted some sort of tax benefit as of 2009 and states having no such policy at that time.

"There continue to be sizeable shortages in available organs for transplant, despite a number of interventions taken over the past two decades to increase donations," says Atheendar Venkataramani, MD, PhD, a resident in Internal Medicine-Global Primary Care at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the lead and corresponding author of the report. "Tax policies were thought to be a way to increase donations without challenging the public's unease about outright payment for organs, but our evidence shows they have not increased the organ supply very much, if at all."

In 2004, Wisconsin became the first state to enact a policy allowing living organ donors to deduct up to $10,000 in donation-related costs from their state income taxes. In subsequent years several additional states including Massachusetts, New York, Georgia and Ohio enacted similar tax deductions, and Iowa granted donors a tax credit. There currently are a total of 17 states offering a tax benefit to living organ donors (see list at end of release), and 18 additional states are considering similar legislation. A single study had previously investigated the impact of tax incentives on rates of living donation, but that only looked at effects immediately after the laws were enacted and did not consider key subgroups for whom effects might be larger.

Using information on the total number of living solid-organ donors in each state between 2000 and 2010, provided by the United Network for Organ Sharing and th
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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