Reason: How to reform the system without killing it

Virginia Postrel’s life has put her in position to experience the issues of the American health-care system in a very personal manner. She donated a kidney to a friend, only to discover a year later that she had a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer. In a lengthy but worthwhile interview with Reason TV, Postrel discusses the use of the expensive but effective drug Herceptin in the US — and also in New Zealand, where politics blocked it from being covered by the single-payer system in that country. Postrel discusses the market-based reforms that work as well as the reasons they meet resistance with Ted Balaker:

Former Reason magazine Editor in Chief Virginia Postrel has seen the strengths and the shortcomings of the American health care system both as a kidney donor and a breast cancer survivor.

She argues that individuals should be free to sell their organs, and that encouraging organ markets may be the best way to save the lives of the more than 100,000 Americans currently awaiting transplants.

A 2009 article Postrel wrote for the Atlantic Monthly highlights her experience with the ultra-expensive wonder drug, Herceptin, and the perils of centrally controlling health care costs.

On the point of market-based incentives for organ donation, I wrote about that myself last year, based on my family’s experiences through three kidney transplants, the last two of which were unrelated live donors.  I’d also recommend Dr. Sally Satel’s book, When Altruism Isn’t Enough, and the interview I did with her last year as well.

Update: Fixed the bad link to my earlier post on organ donation.