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Arizona Governor, “No Transplants for Medicaid Patients (the poor)”

Posted Nov 23 2010 1:31pm

Let’s start this blog with this undeniable medical fact,  “Everyone on the transplant list is dying.”  They are suffering from organ failure and that means sure death unless they get an organ transplant.  I know of what I speak because until August 21, 2007, when I got a new heart, I was dying from end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy. 

 By way of this blog I am asking readers to make every effort to help save the 98 people in Arizona who were approved for transplants but have now been denied the life saving procedure.

The Decision by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the state legislature to cut Medicaid coverage for most organ transplants is arbitrary, cruel and, I believe, in violation of both the Arizona and U.S. constitutions. 

As of October 1, 2010 Arizona Medicaid stopped covering heart transplants for non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, lung transplants, pancreatic transplants, some bone marrow transplants and liver transplants for hepatitis C patients.  That means that about 98 people who had previously been approved for transplants will not be eligible unless they can raise the money on their own. Transplants can cost from $150 thousand to $500 thousand which does not include the anti=rejection drugs a transplant patient must take for the rest of their lives. 

 The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) spokeswoman Monica Coury said her agency had the “horrible task” of putting together benefit reductions, and that the transplants affected represent a small number of patients (so that makes it Ok to let them die?).”

“Patients with cystic fibrosis who get a lung transplant might get extra time with a good quality of life, but inevitably the CF will re-infect the new lung,” she said. “Not everyone on that list is going to get an organ anyway.  There is a shortage of viable organs for these folks waiting on the list (so if there are not enough organs why save a few?  We should just let all of them die). ”

 Read the story of a 27 year old Cystic Fibrosis patient who was depending on a transplant (but, of course, according to spokesperson Coury, it would only “give her extra time with a good quality of life.” So why bother?). http://azstarnet.com/news/science/health-med-fit/article_c8288a3a-8135-5cc9-bf0d-0745071bd74a.html    

 Almost every American political organization agrees that the U.S. Constitution was created to form a government whose sole purpose is to serve the People as stated in the Declaration of Independence.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

The preamble to the Constitution states: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Founding father Alexander Hamilton maintained that the clause, “Promote the general welfare” granted Congress the power to spend without limitation for the general welfare of the nation.  So I ask, why is it more acceptable to limit spending on general welfare but to give defense an almost open checkbook, especially when both items are given the same emphasis in the same sentence of the preamble?

The Constitution of the state of Arizona says, in Section 3 of Article ll in the Declaration of rights, “The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.”  Which means Arizona must adhere to the guarantee of the General welfare in the U.S. Constitution.  . 

 Article ll of section 4 of the Arizona constitution declaration of rights also says, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”  Due process of law usually meaning the right to be heard in court, has been denied here, too.  Some say the Governor and the legislature have acted as vigilantes in sentencing 98 Arizona citizens to death. 

 If we allow Arizona and perhaps other states to arbitrarily sentence people to die (mostly poor people by the way)  where will it end?   During congress’ deliberations on a health care bill it was charged that the Obama Administration would set up “Death Panels” to decide who would live or die if the new health care bill was passed.   Interestingly, “Death Panels” have been established, not by Obama, but by the very people who condemned them. 

Please make your most vigorous protest to the Governor of Arizona by calling her office at 602 542 4331 emailing her at http://www.governor.state.az.us/Contact.asp or sending a letter to Honorable Governor Jan Brewer 1700 West Washington Phoenix, Arizona 85007. 

Additionally I suggest you express your outrage by getting the facts out to Radio talk shows, Facebook Friends, Tweeters, newspaper comment pages, news agencies and anyone else you think could influence the decision makers in Phoenix.  This is not a frivolous matter, 98 lives are at stake here and we must do everything in our power to save them.

Please comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org .  And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors.  There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance.  If you convince one person to be a donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives.  Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

 Also…visit and join my Facebook site, ORGAN Transplantation Initiative http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=152655364765710  OR — my Facebook home Page http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&tid=10150094667020070#!/ . 

 The more members we get the greater our impact on increasing life saving organ donation.


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