Calling the kettle black

150805-kettleblackPlanned Parenthood is on the defensive these days as The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, continues to release heavily edited spy cam footage that appears to show Planned Parenthood officials either contemplating or negotiating the sale of fetal tissue for profit. It’s legal for them to recover the cost of expenses, but anything beyond that ist verboten, natürlich.

It’s also illegal in the Land of the Free for me to sell a kidney, assuming that I want to, which I don’t, but here’s the crazy thing …

According to The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the average billed charges for a kidney transplant in 2011 totaled $262, 900. Hospitals and doctors got paid, you betcha. So did “procurement” professionals. Drug companies, supply companies and waste management companies got paid as well, but if I had tried to insinuate myself into the revenue stream by accepting money in exchange for an organ I owned, the very organ without which none of the foregoing would have been possible, I’d be in prison.

Why is that, exactly?

Why are hospitals allowed to base their prices and their collection practices on free market principles, but I’m not? Why, for that matter, should I donate blood to The American Red Cross (annual operating budget roughly $1.7 billion) so they can sell it at a (wink wink) “non-profit” to the retail healthcare industry (annual operating budget roughly the value of God’s testicles), which in turn will sell it (again, at a [wink wink] “non-profit”) to consumers?

I have a theory.

My theory is that our retail healthcare industry’s business model is made viable largely by maintaining the illusion that healthcare isn’t a business, but a sacred art, and that its customers aren’t customers, but recipients of a kind of ritual mercy. This illusion isn’t compatible with merchants merchandising inside the temple, particularly if they’re lay merchants, most particularly if they aren’t giving the lion’s share of their proceeds to the priests.

That’s my theory.