First -world countries come with first-world benefits. Or so we thought.
In the State of Arizona, the seemingly benign words: ‘budget cut’ are resulting into tragic consequences for many citizens. Last March, a bill that was passed to lessen state appropriation for transplants became effective on October 1. This move was based on a study which revealed a very low survival rate among those who receive transplants.
Supposedly, 13 of 14 patients of those who received state-funded bone marrow transplants from non-relatives died within six months. So the state has decided to save $45 million dollars a year instead. However, other practitioners countered these findings saying that success rates were actually higher.
Accurate or not, real lives are now in peril. Transplants cost of hundreds of dollars which means the poorest of Arizona has no hope of getting new organs. The Medicaid cuts mean patients (including those who have been waiting in the donor list for years) will no longer receive heart transplants for non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, pancreatic transplants, lung transplants, liver transplants for hepatitis C patients or certain bone marrow transplants unless they somehow find the money themselves.
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer who approved the bill said to Associated Press that her heart went out to those who will be affected but called the cuts necessary. "The bottom line is the state only has so much money and we can only provide so much optional types of care and those were one of the options that we had taken liberty to discard, to dismiss,"
This was countered by Democrat Senator Leah Landrum. "We made it very clear at the time of the vote that this was a death sentence," she said to the New York Times. "This is not a luxury item. We’re not talking about cosmetic surgery."
Francisco Felix, 32, a father of four who has hepatitis C and is in need of a liver, is just one of those was suddenly rendered ineligible after waiting for a year. Finally, a dying family friend offered her lung when the new legislation became effective. His family tried to raise the $200,00, but in the end, the money did not come through.
"I know times are tight and cuts are needed, but you can’t cut human lives," his wife, Flor Felix told the New York Times.
A concerned citizen George Mason expressed disgust over the cut. “ (This is) pretty sick that we’re spending $20 billion a week in Afghanistan to chase boogeymen (that we created during the 1980′s) and to secure trillions of dollars’ worth of rare minerals for conglomerate, but are unable to care for our own. Wake up America!”
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