In the Interests of Being Fair….

Previously in this blog, I’d written about the unimagineable cuts made to Arizona’s Medicaid program by Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer.  I’m no fan of hers, BUT I do believe in being fair.  Therefore, I’m posting this article from today’s The Arizona Republic:April 26, 2011 |

 

Brewer works to restore transplant coverage

by Ginger Rough – Mar. 28, 2011 12:16 PM
The Arizona Republic

 
 

 

Gov. Jan Brewer’s office is open to restoring medical transplant coverage for low-income patients, possibly as part of her effort to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program.

Brewer first hinted at the possibility during a trip to Prescott Valley last week.

“There is a possibility that that issue can be addressed,” Brewer told The Republic. “I would hope that there could be a solution, an agreeable solution. That doesn’t mean that’s going to happen, but we’re working to find a solution.”

But it’s not clear what kind of support there is for the plan among legislators.

Any plan to restore funding would require Legislative approval, Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said.

Funding for transplants was not included in the $8.1 billion budget proposal approved by the Arizona Senate earlier this month, but the House has yet to take up the issue and it is generally believed it wants to have an agreement with the Governor’s Office before beginning its deliberations.

The transplant money was cut last spring when state lawmakers approved a fiscal 2011 budget that cut funding for optional services provided by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program.

Those cuts, designed to help close a massive budget gap, included coverage of certain transplant surgeries, including bone marrow, kidney, liver problems due to hepatitis C and others. Eliminating the transplant funding saved the state about $1.2 million.

The cuts took effect Oct. 1, and drew unflattering national media attention after Goodyear father Mark Price, a leukemia patient was denied coverage for a bone-marrow transplant. An anonymous donor came forward to pay for the procedure, but Price died Nov. 28 of complications to his disease.

National media reports referenced Arizona and its “death panels.”

Democratic lawmakers have kept the issue at the forefront this Legislative session, but proposals to reinstate funding have gained little traction.

If Brewer’s office can successfully negotiate a deal to reinstate transplant funding, it would mark a stunning reversal of position on the issue. She has repeatedly said there is no money for such procedures given the state’s ongoing budget crisis.

The governor’s Medicaid waiver request is due to be submitted to the Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this week. Brewer’s $500 million proposal would eliminate fewer people from the state’s Medicaid rolls by freezing enrollment, requiring patients who remain to pay more for their care and reducing the amount paid to health-care providers.

Monica Coury, an assistant director for AHCCCS, said she could shed little light about the possibility of reinstating transplant funding as part of the Medicaid waiver request, saying that “would have to be the governor’s decision.”

Coury said her office is currently working on the Medicaid waiver proposal and “it doesn’t have transplants in it.”

Reach the reporter at ginger.rough@arizonarepublic.com

Am I assured the transplant money will be restored?  No, not yet.  Am I hopeful?  In a word: very.  I’m hoping I’m not once again being a Pollyanna, but I’m also hoping that I’m not the only one concerned about this issue.  Think about it.  What can you do to help restore this money to Arizona’s economically challenged people?  Unfortunately, if the unthinkable can happen here, who’s to say it can’t happen in your state, too?
 
Until Friday,
Keep living your life (and finding ways for other to continue to live theirs)
   
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Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

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    • Do you know Polk@gmail.com? You think along the same lines – isn’t that unusual? Okay, I get it. I’ll check out pageflakes.com, too. Thanks for the ideas, but please, no more spam.

  2. Hi there, just ran into your website from digg. This isn’t not something I would regularly read, but I loved your perspective on it. Thanx for making an article worth reading!

    • And thank you for both the compliment and mentioning digg – that’s something I’ll have to look up.


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