Brewercare: Patients as Pawns

Posted: January 21, 2011 in Criminal in AZ, Gov. Jan Brewer, Healthcare

Keith Olbermann interviewed one of our State Senators, David Schapira, regarding Gov. Brewer’s recent political budget maneuvering.   She has been taking a lot of criticism for budget cuts that have caused the death of 2 individuals and endangered scores of others (96 people to be precise) by denying them life-saving organ transplants.  The cost of those organ transplants to the state–if all 96 were done was $1.4 million.  That’s what she cut from the state budget.  Instead of simply recovering those who remain alive, she is proposing to double down on stupid policy decisions.

Gov. Brewer is proposing to create a fund for the uncompensated in Arizona. This fund would be set up with $151 million.  Sounds great, right?  More than enough to cover these transplant cases, right?  No, that would be too easy.

The really funny (in a sad way, not in a haha way) thing about this proposal is that she wants to raise this money by further denying coverage of necessary treatment for over 5,000 mentally ill Arizonans and general health care coverage for another 280,000 adults.  Yes, you’re reading that correctly.  Instead of restoring the $1.4 million to the budget for those 96 dying patients, the Governor wants to deny another 285,200 people AND then force those uncovered people into a pool with the 96 to use the new fund to pay for all of their health care needs.

Wait, it gets better. This fund would not be available until the new budget is approved for FY 2012 and 2013 which won’t occur until July 2011–yes, that’s 5 months away.  That is a lifetime for someone who needs an organ transplant to live.  How much more blood will be on her hands by then?  How many more mentally ill people won’t receive treatment.  I wonder how many will go out and buy guns and shoot innocent people.  Just sayin!

Other than these obvious problems with the plan here’s some of the other issues that Gov. Brewer hasn’t bothered to waste any brain cells on:

  1. The Governor would need to apply and receive a waiver from the Federal Law that prohibits states from changing Medicaid eligibility for two years.  The odds of the state getting this waiver is very, very bad.
  2. This fund would not compensate doctors that perform organ transplants at 100%.  How many doctors and hospitals will even consider doing such a risky and time intensive surgeries when they will only be compensated for a portion of the actual cost?
  3. Arizona will lose matching funds from the Federal Government for the original $1.4 million we’re not paying out in Medicaid.
  4. The original $1.4 million is a tiny fraction of the state’s overall budget–1.6% actually.  The state could find that kind of money by improving recycling efforts or cutting back on expense accounts alone.  Hell, they could get that kind of change from the friggin lottery.  Oh wait, it already goes toward other state funds.
  5. The Governor is still pushing for tax cuts for corporations further depriving the state of much-needed income.
  6. By cutting the 280,000 off from Medicaid, the Governor would save  $541.5 million and this would take care of half of the projected $1.1 billion shortfall in the next state budget.

So I have to ask, why were the critically ill patients waiting for organ transplants cut months before everyone else?  It seems obvious to me that the Governor intended to use these patients as pawns in her negotiations for a waiver with the Obama Administration from the very beginning.  She can say to the President, ‘if we don’t get the waiver, we can’t help these poor dying patients’.  If the waiver is denied she can claim to her supporters ‘well I tried to reduce our budget but the Kenyan muslim usurper wouldn’t let me’.  And to her opponents she can claim, “well I tried to get more money than was required for them”.

Never mind that she was the one that made those patients pawns in the first place by taking away the operations they needed to continue living.

  1. Monex says:

    While it may be common for private insurance companies or government agencies to change eligibility requirements for medical procedures ahead of time medical ethicists say authorizing a procedure and then reversing that decision is unheard of..A Matter Of Heart.Randy Shepherd is 36 and 6-foot-3 but he has to toss baseballs to his 3-year-old son Nathan while sitting in a lawn chair. As a teenager he had his heart valves replaced but that was 20 years ago.. The muscles gotten tired and distended Shepherd says. Theyve told Shepherd that he needs a heart transplant to survive..AHCCCS pronounced like access was the only health insurance Shepherd could get because he had a pre-existing condition and since he was forced to stop working in his plumbing business little money.

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