Arizona Governor, “No Transplants for Medicaid Patients (the poor)”


Let’s start this blog with this undeniable medical fact,  “Everyone on the transplant list is dying.”  They are suffering from organ failure and that means sure death unless they get an organ transplant.  I know of what I speak because until August 21, 2007, when I got a new heart, I was dying from end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy. 

By way of this blog I am asking readers to make every effort to help save the 98 people in Arizona who were approved for transplants but have now been denied the life saving procedure.  You’ll find a donation link at the end of this posting.

The Decision by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the state legislature to cut Medicaid coverage for most organ transplants is arbitrary, cruel in the extrreme and, I believe, in violation of both the Arizona and U.S. constitutions. 

As of October 1, 2010 Arizona Medicaid stopped covering heart transplants for non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, lung transplants, pancreatic transplants, some bone marrow transplants and liver transplants for hepatitis C patients.  That means that about 98 people who had previously been approved for transplants will not be eligible unless they can raise the money on their own. Transplants can cost from $150 thousand to $500 thousand which does not include the anti-rejection drugs transplant patients must take for the rest of their lives. 

Arizona will save approximately $5 million by cancelling Medicaid organ transplant coverage.   So — not only have the state’s politicians decided to let 98 people die, they have also decided that human life in the state is worth exactly $51,020.41.  Don’t be surprised if in the future some life insurance company uses that figure to attempt to reduce jury awards in cases of personal injury and death.    

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) spokeswoman Monica Coury said her agency had the “horrible task” of putting together benefit reductions, and that the transplants affected represent a small number of patients (so that makes it Ok to let them die?).”

“Patients with cystic fibrosis who get a lung transplant might get extra time with a good quality of life, but inevitably the CF will re-infect the new lung,” she said. “Not everyone on that list is going to get an organ anyway.  There is a shortage of viable organs for these folks waiting on the list (so if there are not enough organs why save a few?  We should just let all of them die). ”

Read the story of a 27 year old Cystic Fibrosis patient who was depending on a transplant (but, of course, according to spokesperson Coury, it would only “give her extra time with a good quality of life.” So why bother?). http://azstarnet.com/news/science/health-med-fit/article_c8288a3a-8135-5cc9-bf0d-0745071bd74a.html    

Almost every American political organization agrees that the U.S. Constitution was created to form a government whose sole purpose is to serve the People as stated in the Declaration of Independence.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

The preamble to the Constitution states: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Founding father Alexander Hamilton maintained that the clause, “Promote the general welfare” granted Congress the power to spend without limitation for the general welfare of the nation.  So I ask, why is it more acceptable to limit spending on general welfare but to give defense an almost open checkbook, especially when both items are given the same emphasis in the same sentence of the preamble to our constitution?

The Constitution of the state of Arizona says, in Section 3 of Article ll in the Declaration of rights, “The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.”  That means Arizona must adhere to the guarantee of the General welfare in the U.S. Constitution.  Their own constitution gives them no options on the matter.. 

Article ll of section 4 of the Arizona constitution declaration of rights also says, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”  Due process of law usually meaning the right to be heard in court, has been denied here, too.  Some say the Governor and the legislature have acted as vigilantes in sentencing 98 Arizona citizens to death.  

If we allow Arizona and perhaps other states to arbitrarily sentence people to die (mostly poor people by the way)  where will it end?   During congress’ deliberations on a health care bill it was charged that the Obama Administration would set up “Death Panels” to decide who would live or die if the new health care bill was passed.   Interestingly, “Death Panels” have been established, not by Obama, but by the very people who condemned them. 

Please make your most vigorous protest to the Governor of Arizona by calling her office at 602 542 4331 emailing her at http://www.governor.state.az.us/Contact.asp or sending a letter to Honorable Governor Jan Brewer 1700 West Washington Phoenix, Arizona 85007. 

Additionally I suggest you express your outrage by getting the facts out to Radio talk shows, Facebook Friends, Tweeters, newspaper comment pages, news agencies and anyone else you think could influence the decision makers in Phoenix.  This is not a frivolous matter, 98 lives are at stake here and we must do everything in our power to save them.

If you would like to donate money to help these Aizona patients pay for their transplants, should organs become available, you can do so through the National Transplant Assistance Fund (NTAF).  You can either call 1-800-642-8399 or make your donation on-line at http://www.ntafund.org/contribute/  

Please comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org.  And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors.  There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance.  If you convince one person to be a donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives.  Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Also…visit and join my Facebook site, ORGAN Transplantation Initiative http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=152655364765710  OR — my Facebook home Page http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&tid=10150094667020070#!/ . 

 The more members we get the greater our impact on increasing life saving organ donation.

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About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on November 23, 2010, in Medicaid and organ transplants and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I m a dileted cardiac myopathy pateint my ef is 25% i need help money and medicin plz help me my email id praveen18info@yahoo.in m a indian age 43 yrs

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  2. This sickens me. We could so easily pay for all these people’s transplants if we only decided to tax corporations more- or END the Bush era tax cuts on the rich! They pay so little while the poor and middle class and even upper middle class have tax hikes. The billionaires however have no capital gains tax, and reduced income tax. The corporations are even worse! GE paid NO TAXES last year! And we cut these people’s right to have organ transplants in result.

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  3. This is not human , the reason why the state is broke is all the people commiting fraud lying about how much money they make etc etc, getting free acess health care , food stamps and other freebies , while thier are people who are dying I guess alot of people are not doing thier job and checking out these deadbeats and so the real needy need to die foer people handing out billions and billions of dollars worth of fraudualnt benifits NOT HUMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. This is nuts , not human these people need help , Go check out all the people working the system lying to the government gets free acess health care nobody even checking on them, getting all kinds of free bies this is what is making the state broke the fraud not the people who really need it they should have the intellegence to figure it out unbelievable!!!!!

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    • What this is nuts how many people are going to die before they check into the real problem , what is really making the state broke anyone can go get free acess health care they just lie and lie and nobody checks why dont they have the intellegence to check this out , instead of taking it away from the people who are really in need this is sick!!!!!!!!!

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  5. Bob keep up the good words. I am a left lung transplant recipient as of 6 years ago. I waited almost 7 years to get a match. I can’t even imagine those 98 people being told that now they will not even get a second chance at life, it is just WRONG. SO I WILL PASS ON YOUR WORDS TO EVERYONE I KNOW. LET ME KNOW IF THERE IS ANY OTHER WAY OF GETTING THE WORD OUT TO THE PUBLIC

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  6. Great words Bob – keep up the great work !!

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