KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Arizona State Dem. Lawmakers Push For Restoring Medicaid Transplant Money

The Fiscal Times: "Organ transplants are considered optional by the federal government. And in today's economic climate, 'optional' means endangered. In Arizona, the expenses for transplants are generally covered by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), or 'Access,' as the state's version of Medicaid is known. But since cash-strapped Arizona is having trouble covering its mandated medical costs-never mind anything else-[some] transplants, among other things, are on the chopping block" (Mackey, 12/7).

CBS News: "[Transplants] cost more than $200,000 and the state says too often they aren't successful. The cuts will save Arizona $1.4 million, one-tenth of one percent of its $825 million budget deficit. … Ninety-eight people who were waiting for transplants will not get them unless they pay for it themselves" (Tracy, 12/7). 

The Tucson Sentinel reports that state Democratic lawmakers held a news conference "to demand a special session to reinstate the $1.4 million transplant program. They blamed Gov. Jan Brewer, who has the authority to call a special session, for keeping new organs out of the reach of those whose survival hangs in the balance. … Incoming Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, along with Rep. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson, Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix, and Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, said the AHCCCS's funding for organ transplants for Medicaid patients should have taken priority over a recent $20 million renovation to roof of the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum or a $2 million grant for algae research" (McClay, 12/7).

Bloomberg /The Associated Press: "Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman reiterated Tuesday that she has no federal money available and no plans to call a special legislative session. The state already faces added Medicaid costs and optional services are off the table, he said" (Christie, 12/8).

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