As many of you know I had a heart transplant in August of 2007. My message today is very important because it addresses a life and death issue. I'm speaking of the situation in Arizona where 98 people had been promised that Medicaid would pay for their life saving organ transplants only to find the state reneging and, in effect, telling these people to, "Go home and die." Our organization, "Save the Arizona 98" is receiving national attention and we'd like your support. Our effort has 3 goals, 1) to reverse the Arizona decision early in their upcoming legislative session, 2) to focus national attention on the issue so it doesn't get repeated anywhere else and, 3) to raise money to help pay for transplants for those who have been denied Medicaid payment.
Let's start with this fact, “Everyone on the transplant list is dying.” No one gets on the national list unless they are in an end-stage disease that can only be corrected by an organ transplant. Speaking from personal experience I can tell you that when you are in this condition you are almost totally unable to function, normal functions that we take for granted like walking from a parking place into a store become almost impossible without stopping to rest. Most people who are placed on the organ waiting list have become so debilitated they are unable to work at even the least strenuous of jobs and have become dependent on Medicaid for their health care. These are not freeloaders, they are extremely sick people who cannot work, can no longer afford insurance, are not old enough for Medicare and have exhausted their ability to pay for their own care. Many if not most are living well below the poverty level by circumstance, not by choice.
When the Arizona legislature and Governor Jan Brewer decided to revoke the promised Medicaid payments for organ transplants, they did so by using erroneous information and in some cases purposely misstating the facts. Two examples. Governor Brewer has called organ transplants “expensive optional treatments.” How can that be when the only option besides a transplant is death? People are listed for transplants when they have run out of all other options. Secondly it was claimed by legislators and the governor that transplants are not that effective. Try telling that to the thousands of people who have had them and gone on to live long, productive, tax paying lives. I'm one of those examples. Prior to my heart transplant I couldn't walk from the family room to the bathroom without stopping to rest. Now I am as active as I was 30 years ago and I know many people who had transplants over 20 years ago and are still very active and healthy.
Elected officials and other decision makers must get the message that we won't allow them to solve their budget problems by killing their citizens. That kind of action contradicts the reason we exist as a democracy which is simply to protect "the general welfare" of our citizens as stated in the preamble to the United States Constitution. Founding father James Madison said that the "General Welfare" clause gives the government an open checkbook to protect its citizens.
"Save the Arizona 98" was given birth by Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=152655364765710 a Facebook group I started a little over 3 years ago. It is further augmented by my blog http://bobsnewheart.wordpress.com. Thousands of Facebook fans and others have already joined the cause.
On the Bob's Newheart site you will find a downloadable free poster, a news release and blogs explaining the issue. On Facebook's OTI you will find updates on the issues along with discussions and ideas to move the project along and on www.savethearizona98.com you can buy T-shirts and other products with the ALL the profits going to the National Transplant Assistance Fund (NTAF), a nationally respected non-profit group that helps those who need transplants and victims of catastrophic circumstances. Not only do we guarantee that All profits will go to NTAF we also guarantee no administrative charges and no operating expenses will be taken from donations. www.savethearizona98com also offers a link for making direct contributions to NTAF if you so choose.
Please help us in this effort, by doing so you will help save lives and offer many families a brighter holiday season and future.
Thank you friends Bob Aronson a grateful heart transplant recipient.
PS...If you are not already an organ donor please register. All you need to do is designate it on your driver license and tell your family. It's as easy as that. Or you can register on line by going to http://www.donatelife.net/ and clicking on "Register Now."