From The New York Times:
Please note that AZ Gov. Jan Brewer “has in turn blamed ‘Obamacare,’ meaning the federal health care overhaul, for the transplant cuts even though the Arizona vote came in March, before President Obama signed that bill into law.” This is worrisome, especially given the rumblings of Medicaid cutting that we have heard here in S.C.
Randy Shepherd, who needs a heart transplant, showed scars from an earlier operation. He hopes a decision is reversed.
Arizona Cuts Financing for Transplant Patients
By MARC LACEY
PHOENIX — Even physicians with decades of experience telling patients that their lives are nearing an end are having difficulty discussing a potentially fatal condition that has arisen in Arizona: Death by budget cut.
Effective at the beginning of October, Arizona stopped financing certain transplant operations under the state’s version of Medicaid. Many doctors say the decision amounts to a death sentence for some low-income patients, who have little chance of survival without transplants and lack the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for them.
“The most difficult discussions are those that involve patients who had been on the donor list for a year or more and now we have to tell them they’re not on the list anymore,” said Dr. Rainer Gruessner, a transplant specialist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. “The frustration is tremendous. It’s more than frustration.”
Organ transplants are already the subject of a web of regulations, which do not guarantee that everyone in need of a life-saving organ will receive one. But Arizona’s transplant specialists are alarmed that patients who were in line to receive transplants one day were, after the state’s budget cuts to its Medicaid program, ruled ineligible the next — unless they raised the money themselves.
Francisco Felix, 32, a father of four who has hepatitis C and is in need of a liver, received news a few weeks ago that a family friend was dying and wanted to donate her liver to him. But the budget cuts meant he no longer qualified for a state-financed transplant.
He was prepared anyway at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center as his relatives scrambled to raise the needed $200,000. When the money did not come through, the liver went to someone else on the transplant list.
“I know times are tight and cuts are needed, but you can’t cut human lives,” said Mr. Felix’s wife, Flor. “You just can’t do that.”
Filed under: In the news, Medicaid | Tagged: "Brewercare", Arizona, bone marrow, budget cut, Dr. Andrew M. Yeager, Dr. Rainer Gruessner, Francisco Felix, Gov. Jan Brewer, hepatitis C, Jennifer Carusetta, John Kavanagh, lung transplant, National Transplant Assistance Fund, Obamacare, Randy Shepherd, Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, transplant | 1 Comment »