Governor Grim Reaper blocking bills to restore funding for transplant patients

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Screenshot-6 Think Progress reported on Thursday Brewer Backs Down On Transplant Funding, But Now Wants To Kick A Quarter Million People Off Medicaid that:

After months of protests from transplant patients and their advocates in public office and the media, Brewer finally gave in yesterday. In the executive summary of her budget proposal for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, Brewer has proposed setting up a $151 million “uncompensated-care pool to pay health-care providers for ‘life-saving’ procedures” like the transplants:

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer proposed a way to fund vital organ transplants, three months after the state became the only one in the U.S. to stop paying for them to cut Medicaid spending. Brewer, 66, said she wants to set up a $151 million uncompensated-care pool to pay health-care providers for “life- saving” procedures, according to a summary of her budget proposal. The fund would partly offset the Republican’s plan to end coverage for 280,000 Arizonans by reining in eligibility.

“Given the state’s billion dollar-plus deficit in Medicaid funding over the next two years, this proposal is designed to provide reimbursement for the most critically ill patients as determined by medical professionals,” Paul Senseman, a spokesman for Brewer, said today by e-mail.

However, what Brewer is giving with one hand, she is taking away with the other. Brewer is rightly proposing a funding solution for transplant patients in need of care, but she is also proposing dropping more than a quarter million people from the state’s Medicaid rolls. Included among the cuts is eliminating funding for 5,200 seriously mentally ill individuals,” which is particularly shocking in light of the recent shooting in Tucson, where the shooter is widely suspected to be mentally ill:

The governor’s plan calls for removing 280,000 mostly childless adults from Medicaid. That would slash $541.5 million in general-fund spending next year, according to the summary. Cutting 5,200 “seriously mentally ill individuals” from Medicaid would lower spending by $79.8 million. The governor proposed $10.3 million in prescription-drug funding to offset the eliminated coverage.

Sarah Muench, a spokeswoman for state Rep. Anna Tovar (D), tells Bloomberg News that the Medicaid cuts actually might prevent Brewer’s pool from being effective, as the “pool won’t be big enough to guarantee transplants because taking people out of Medicaid will create a surge in hospital patients who can’t afford to pay.”

Actually, the uncompensated-care pool won't work in practice. Sen. David Shapira (D-LD 17) was a guest on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Thursday night and explained why the pool won't work, and explained that Governor Grim Reaper is using these transplant patients as leverage for arguing for a waiver from the maintenance of effort requirements from the federal government (two patients have already died in her gambit).

Sen. Shapira specifically alleges that Governor Grim Reaper is blocking bills that he and others have introduced that would restore funding for transplant patients by instructing committee chairmen not to hold hearings on the bills. "Perhaps they should die and decrease the surplus population."

Governor Grim Reaper is giving these patients a death sentence and putting all Arizonans at risk with her cuts to mental health care all in the name of an ideological war of "states rights" against the federal government and opposition to raising taxes on our wealthiest citizens. How many people have to die in pursuit of this right-wing ideology?

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0 responses to “Governor Grim Reaper blocking bills to restore funding for transplant patients

  1. I’d like to let the Zimmerman family know that Gabe was very special. He helped me try to find a way to make my life better. I wish there were more people like Gabe & Gabrielle in this world. I am lost now as to where to turn for help with workplace bullying.
    Thank you for raising the son you did! Kathryn