A minor question here, I wanted to create some political hot-topic debate to have running in the background of a near-future USA. I would like to imagine world that is seriously debating a policy change for deceased organ donors to switch to an opt-out policy rather than the current opt-in policy.
To give context right now after one dies their surviving organs can potentially be donated to others suffering from organ failure. Some countries, like the United States, have opt-in policies; where one's organs are donated only if they sign up to be a donor, in the USA this is usually a box you check when you get a driver's license, though there are other ways to do it. In some other countries the policy is an opt-out one, in which you are presumed to be an organ donor after you pass away unless you explicitly refuse to be.
Very roughly speaking slightly less than 1/3 opt-in or opt-out in respective countries; with a general tendency of more opting-in then opting-out. This meaning that a bit more than 1/3 of individuals go with the 'default option', either donating or not donating depending on rather their country uses opt-in or opt-out policies, due to lack of effort to to express their opinion either way; though this seems to vary drastically between countries. The USA has 45% of its citizens opting-in as donors, though this higher number for America is because some states force citizens to make a choice, one way or another, rather than defaulting them to not donating if they don't explicitly opt-in; Alaska has opt-in rates of over 80%.
Thus, in theory, if the USA switched to an opt-out policy it would gain another 20-30% of its citizens as organ donors, those individuals that did not opt-in previously but also don't bother to opt-out with the new policy
Let's say that changing the US to use an opt-out policy suddenly came to the forefront of politics. Say a recently elected president, or maybe speaker of the house or some other important political figure, decides this was important to them personally and starts a campaign to bring it up in public speeches; making a big deal about people dying due to lack of organs and all the lives saved with the policy and how anyone who doesn't want to be a donor can always opt out so no one is being forced into anything yada yada. Basically, he draws media attention to the topic and keeps it there long enough to start up a debate, due to his already being an important political figure.
The politician writes up a draft bill to support the change. The bill is pretty standard. It stresses funding a number of methods to opt-out being available (at MVA with driver license, any hospital, online, etc etc whatever makes sense). Presume the law explicitly says that government money (federal or state?) should go to hospitals to cover the expense of harvesting organs so that the family isn't charged for it. He passes it to the appropriate individuals (I assume house of representatives, but I don't know where HSRA and state laws come into play here). Debate over rather or not to pass the bill, or how to modify the bill, comes up.
What sort of debate and responses would be discussed? I know some of the obvious debate points
- lives saved from extra organs donated
- rather the law 'forces' people to donate by requiring them to opt-out, one side saying opt out is absurdly easy and so anyone that cares would do it so no one is harmed; the other side saying it's unfair to expect someone to have to opt-out to avoid donating
- debate over costs. One side would argue that the government has to pay more to cover all the extra organs being harvested and transferred and supporting the implantation, the other side arguing that having few people with organ failure means lower medical expenses for treatments like dialysis and thus saving of money.
- Debate over federal vs state rights to regulate such policies (not sure how much here, not sure where the current rights for this are divided)
- Possibly some attempt to add riders to modify the specifics for how an opt-out would work; possible by adding ways to make it easier for family of deceased to override the donation presumption?
- Possibly an argument for deceased who donate an organ to be payed for it, or a claim that a lack of payment is a theft of property?
However, to write the debate I want to get a better feel for how such a debate would progress. The first obvious question would be which party is likely to support the bill and which party is likely to oppose the bill (I have my guesses, but not convinced since I could see arguments otherwise). Other than that I'm trying to envision other arguments that would be used for or against. In fact not just logical valid arguments, what rhetoric, exaggerations, and propaganda will come up as well? After all most political debates seem to be at least 50% rhetoric rather than valid debate, so I want to capture the reality.
How much of a lively debate could the topic really make?