The Washington Post

Marion Barry seeks tax cut for organ donors

D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), who received a kidney transplant in 2009, introduced a bill Tuesday that would give District residents a tax credit of up to $25,000 if they donate one of their organs to another individual.

Washington, DC - March, 3: Council member Marion Barry throws up his hands as he departs the stage after making remarks at a D.C. Democratic Party event. (Bill O'Leary/WASHINGTON POST)

The bill is designed to help cover medical and other expenses associated with organ donation.

Four years ago, after he developed kidney disease, Barry received a kidney from a longtime friend, Kim Dickens. Barry quickly recovered from the 2009 surgery at Howard University Hospital.

Barry’s bill was co-sponsored by council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), who argued the District needs to do more to provide incentives for residents, particularly African-Americans, to become organ donors.

But the proposal is controversial.

While some health professionals and academics argue Barry’s approach is needed to reduce the shortage of organ donors, others worry it could encourage the sale of organs.

In 1984, Congress passed a law banning the sale of organs, but it’s legal to reimburse a donor for medical and legal expenses.

Barry’s bill would permit an organ donor to claim the tax credit after justifying expenses related to travel and lodging, lost wages and hospital and insurance costs during a transplant procedure.

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.

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