Melissa (dreadfulpenny81) wrote in talk_politics,

Death Panels? What Death Panels?

During the heated debate last summer over the proposed health care legislation, Sarah Palin and Barack Obama kept bringing to the media the phrase 'death panels', groups of people that would decide whether or not to "pull the plug on Grandma". While Palin was misguided in her analysis (as she was trying to say that end-of-life care or the living will system was the 'death panel' when it actually wasn't), she may not have been entirely off-base.

Stories have been featured recently through several media outlets of patients in Arizona and Indiana who have been denied life-saving surgeries in the past several weeks and months due to cuts in state Medicaid budgets. In Indiana, a six-month old infant named Seth Petreikis has complete DiGeorge syndrome. A surgery that was deemed "experimental" by Medicaid was denied to him, but the company that manages Indiana's Medicaid program has offered to pay for the surgery themselves. [Source]

In Arizona, 98 people who were already approved for transplants were later told they couldn't receive the surgeries because of recent cuts to Arizona's Medicaid budget. One man was set to receive a new liver, which was donated to him by a friend who'd recently passed away. Because he couldn't pay for the $200,000 surgery, the liver went to another patient. [Source] The reason for this? On October 1, 2010, the state of Arizona removed transplants from a list of medical services that can be funded through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). Keith Olbermann is asking viewers of his show Countdown to donate in the hopes of funding the transplants. Meanwhile, Democrats in Arizona are now using the 'death panel' analogy as an attack against Gov. Jan Brewer and Arizona Republicans, who agreed to Medicaid cuts to balance their budget, despite protests from Democrats. [Source]

The 'death panels' Palin referred to have little to do with federal government action and more to do with state government blunders. There should be some legislation on the table to mandate organ transplant surgeries be paid for through all health care providers, public and private.Transplant boards are still necessary to sort through the amount of transplant candidates but at least someone who's promised a chance at renewed life wouldn't have to worry about that promise being taken away.
Tags: arizona, health care, human rights
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