As ThinkProgress has reported, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) and the GOP-controlled state House have turned a blind eye to the plight of 98 Arizona patients in desperate need of organ transplants. Since Brewer enacted painful cuts to the state’s Medicaid program in October, two Arizonans unable to pay for the transplants they needed passed away. After months of appeals and protests, it appears Brewer has finally agreed to set aside a $151 million “uncompensated-care pool to pay health-care providers for ‘life-saving’ procedures, including transplants.”
However, state House Republicans remain vigilant in their anti-human life campaign. They are refusing to let measures to restore funding for organ transplants advance because, as the state House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jon Kavanagh (R) explained, “not enough lives would be saved to warrant restoring millions in budget cuts” for the transplants.
But as Brewer and the GOP-led legislature waffle over the value of human lives, two more people — including 23-year-old leukemia patient Courtney Parham — join the 98 others standing before the Brewer death panel. Because the state has so far refused to pay for her transplant, Courtney’s family “must raise somewhere between $400-$800 thousand dollars for a transplant, or their daughter will die.” KGUN 9 in Tucson reports:
But, one thing that didn’t come back was the insurance. The company dropped Courtney because she was too sick to be a full-time student, which forced her on to the Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment System, or AHCCCS. And, then Governor Brewer dropped more bad news; no more transplants for patients like Courtney, all to help balance the budget. The Straw-Parham family told KGUN9 they must raise somewhere between $400-$800 thousand dollars for a transplant, or their daughter will die.
“Would she [Gov. Brewer] put her own children’s lives up to balance her budget? I don’t think so!” said Straw angrily.
“My mother isn’t looking at me like a dollar sign. But, in this situation, she sort of has to look at me like a dollar sign,” said Courtney.
Like all states, Arizona is facing hard financial times, but this is a question of priorities. While Courtney’s life is on the line, Brewer eagerly signed tax cuts for businesses into law last week — cuts that will cost Arizona $538 million by 2018. Yet the governor has dragged her feet in offering the mere $1.36 million needed to save Courtney and her cohort’s lives, and she has consistently ignored 26 possible funding solutions from a member of her own party.
For Brewer, the fact that Courtney’s plight is forced to take a backseat to business tax cuts is “sad but necessary.”