As ThinkProgress previously reported, at least two Arizonans have died because they were denied funding for organ transplants that they were promised following Medicaid budget cuts championed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R). The governor called the transplants “optional.”
Horrified by the fact that 98 Arizonans were unable to get organ transplants they desperately needed, last month Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) joined with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) to be the only two members of that state’s congressional delegation to write to Brewer and protest the lethal cuts to the state’s budget. Citing the case of Arizonan father David Hernandez, who will die if he doesn’t receive a lung transplant, the two reminded Brewer that she holds in her “hands the lives of these men and women“:
Various reports have quoted you and others in Arizona state government as describing transplants as “optional.” We strongly disagree with that characterization for medical procedures that determine the life or death of our fellow Arizonans.
We urge you — in the strongest possible way — not to solve the state’s budget problems on the backs of people such as David Hernandez. You hold in your hands the lives of these men and women of Arizona.
Following the letter, a spokesman for Brewer told local news station KGUN that he has yet to see a “Democrat come up a real, viable solution to help alleviate the budget and sustain the program.” Since that time, Steven Daglas — an Illinois State GOP Central Committeeman — has been writing to Brewer, presenting 26 possible funding solutions to the Medicaid problem that wouldn’t require any new revenues. He has yet to receive a response.