January 7th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

Arizona cuts in transplant coverage spark outrage

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Two people have already died in Arizona and another 96 are waiting for a life-saving transplant they may no longer be able to afford after the state slashed money reserved for the procedures.

One lawmaker said Arizona is now home to "death panels." And those whose names were on the list, those who will surely die without a transplant, found themselves in a state of disbelief.

"It's a shock to me," said Randall Shepherd, who thought he would receive Medicaid funding for the heart transplant he needs.

"There's a bit of a personal loss and the realization that this could be me in time if something's not changed here," Shepherd said, referring to the two who have died. "Until I get a new heart, my life is in a holding pattern."

Shepherd, like many others outraged by the state decision to slash $1.2 million from the state's Medicaid funding, said he believes the cuts could have come from elsewhere. Nonetheless, he said he understands the reasoning behind the decision.

"It's obvious. If the state's broke, it is broke," he said. "I can kick and scream all I want, and if there's no money for a transplant, it is just not going to happen.

"I really feel bad for the governor, for the legislators, those who had to make this decision," he said. "I certainly wouldn't want to be in their shoes and making the call that results in somebody else living or dying."

Arizona's Senate Minority Leader-elect David Schapira, a Democrat from Tempe, said he will seek emergency restoration of Medicaid coverage for certain kinds of transplants.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Health Care
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Denise

    It sure does spark outrage. How in the world can Ms. Brewer say organ transplants are "optional"? There is definately a death panel in our state government developing here and it scares the heck out of me. What's going to happen if I suddenly find myself gravely ill? Perish the thought. Oh yeah! Is anyone passing around a petition to oust Governor Brewer? I'd be very willing to sign it.

    January 8, 2011 at 5:13 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    Well here we go Politics of dictatorship over citizenship. It is like this in American health care; we are all of us equal its just that some of us (with money) are more equal!!The only "death panels" in Health care are in state legislatures, as though this proves current health care does not work.. these decisions in Nevada have nothing to do with the recent Act perse.
    Because we can then pay the 59% increase by one private health care provider as proposed in California!! Believe me this is just the first of many by any and all private health insurance
    companies, nationally.
    I read recently only 48.4% of Americans have company provided Health care coverage. It seems those people have a disproportionate voting power on this topic.
    Finally why dopolls always only ask very divisive questions.
    Ask the question: "Would you like to see the congress and senate compromise with amendments to the Affordable care act?"
    "Would you prefer the above to complete repeal?
    My guess around 70% will say yes in both cases.

    January 8, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  3. Lisa Baldemora

    Hi Anderson,
    It is a coincidence that today, I just read the AARP Bulletin about Arizona Transplant denial to Francisco Felix, a resident suffering from hepatitis C,thrn on your program I found out that he died. I just want to say that the Govenor Jan Brewer should be tried for murder. She has given these patients a death sentence. I am totally outraged! And she does not even show any compassion for her constituence. What a shame! What a disgrace! She is an evil person. Well let them vote Republican; I pray for our well being now that congress has changed. Vultures them all!

    January 7, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    I can understand running out of money but I think I would cut everywhere else before I cut where she did and let people die. How does she live with herself?

    January 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm |