Friday, December 10, 2010

POLITICS - Price-Limit on Arizona Citizens' Lives

"Pulling Plug on Grandma Puts Obamacare Opponents on Defensive in Arizona" by Christopher Palmeri, Bloomberg 12/9/2010


Randall Shepherd, a 36-year-old father of three who needs a new heart after childhood battles with rheumatic fever, is one of 98 Arizonans no longer eligible for state-paid transplants after Governor Jan Brewer and the Legislature eliminated funding.

Shepherd, a plumber from Mesa who no longer can work, said he was next on the list to receive a heart of his size and blood type when the transplant program was eliminated Oct. 1, cutting him off from the $600,000 procedure. Now, “I wouldn’t even be notified,” he said in a telephone interview, his breathing labored.

The Republican governor’s elimination of transplants to save $800,000 toward a $3 billion budget deficit makes Arizona the only state to do so in the past two years, according to a report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health-care researcher in Menlo Park, California.

“Our concern is that patients will die,” said Maryl Johnson, a cardiovascular specialist at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison and president of the American Society of Transplantation, a professional group based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. “We want to make sure the state is making decisions based on accurate information.” Patients in Shepherd’s condition have a 50 percent chance of living 11 more years if they have the surgery, she said.

‘Brewercare’ Decision

Brewer’s transplant cutbacks have become a rallying cause for Democrats, who call her decision “Brewercare.” It’s hypocritical for Republicans to support the program’s end while opposing President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation on the ground it would create death panels run by bureaucrats, said Anna Tovar, a Democratic state representative from Tolleson.

“We are the only state that has cut transplant care,” said Tovar, 36, who said her insurance paid for bone-marrow transplants in 2000 and 2001 as she fought leukemia.

“What the governor calls Cadillac care, optional service, we’re talking a life-or-death decision,” Tovar said in a telephone interview.

Typical Republicanism, transplants that save lives = Cadillac care, optional service. See YOUR life has a dollar limit and if healthcare to save your life costs too much, go die.

Of course the top 2% income bracket doesn't have to worry about this.

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