Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Arizona's Poor, Now Worth Less Than $50K Per Person

So let's say you're a hard working Arizona plumber, a Joe-six -pack, salt of the earth, nice family man. You and your wife are raising your little kids together... and then your heart starts to give out.  You might've had rheumatic fever as a kid, and damaged it... and you can't work anymore because, well, your heart is failing - you get winded and tired and you're not supposed to exert yourself with that cardiomyopathy progressing in your chest.  But that's ok... state Medicaid health care coverage can provide you with the "bootstraps" to get you on the list for a heart transplant.  You're 36.  Your kids are young. You're trained in skilled labor, you have your whole life ahead of you, right?

Not if you're in Arizona. See, in Arizona, our Libertarian leaning, Radical Republican primary populated (polluted) legislature, is REALLY against helping anyone with any boot straps.  Everyone needs to get their own boot straps, and if they don't or can't, then they can die.  And that's just fine with Arizona legislators.  We're running a deficit gosh darn it!   Though that didn't seem to matter when Bush was in office, or when Republicans were ear marking everything with pet projects, it CERTAINLY matters when some lazy bum wants a hand out and won't pull himself up by his own boot straps.

As Ted Robbin's enlightening story stated this morning on NPR (link here):
"aid it is unable to pay for Shepherd's transplant. In fact, facing a $1.5 billion budget deficit, Arizona has cut out all state-funded lung transplants, some bone-marrow transplants and some heart transplants — including transplants for the condition Shepherd has. "To basically renege on what you promised was [going to] be a chance at life is a very, very bitter indictment of the ethics of the Legislature," says Arthur Caplan, head of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Caplan calls the reversal "awful" behavior because Arizona is going back on a covenant it made with its patients, and because these are patients for whom time is critical — patients who spent months, some years, thinking they were covered.
"They then stop trying to raise money, stop trying to see what Uncle Fred might be willing to give them," Caplan says. "They don't have the bake sale. They don't make the appeal in church.""

So the State of Arizona said they'd help the nice plumber get back on his feet and help him find a new heart transplant... and then...  whoosh..  pulled it out from under him.  Too bad, go find your own boot straps!

So you'd think with a $1.5 BILLION deficit that the 98 transplant patients who have been told they are no longer going to get the transplants they need to stay alive, are going to save the state HUGE amounts of money, right?   Let 98 people die so that the state can get out of the red maybe?  Wrong.  Letting 98 people die saves $4.5 million.  So how much is a poor person worth to the state of Arizona?  A little less than  $50,000 - and then, like Grayson of Florida said last year (before his dumb constituents voted him out of office this year) "die quickly".

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