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Republican death panels


Steven Gaal
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Matthew NY Times registration is free and IMO worth the minor inconvenience. Here’s the beginning of the article:

December 18, 2010

Transplants Cut, Arizona Is Challenged by Survivors

By MARC LACEY

PHOENIX — First, it was distraught patients awaiting organ transplants who protested Arizona’s decision to no longer cover such operations under its Medicaid program.

Now, Arizonans who received such transplants, and are alive and well as a result of them, are questioning the data that lawmakers relied on to make their controversial benefit cuts.

“They say it’s too expensive,” said Star Boelter, 52, who had a stem cell transplant that was paid for by Arizona’s Medicaid program in 2009 after suffering from leukemia. “Well, how much is life worth? They say most people die. Well, I’m alive because of my transplant.”

When Arizona lawmakers voted last spring to cut some state-financed transplant coverage, they relied on data provided by state health officials showing that the procedures were rarely successful. But transplant experts and some patients who have undergone the now-discontinued procedures question the state’s numbers.

For bone marrow transplants, the legislators were told that 13 of 14 patients covered by the state’s Medicaid program who underwent that procedure died within six months. The 14th patient could not be tracked, state health officials told the Legislature, and might have died as well.

But Kim Marie Urick, a leukemia survivor, wants the state’s leaders to know that she is able to ride her three horses outside Sedona and spend time with her husband and son thanks to a bone marrow transplant that Arizona’s Medicaid program paid for on June 4, 2009.

“I was about five days away from dying,” she said in a telephone interview. “I essentially had no immune system. If it wasn’t for the bone marrow transplant, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

The cure rate for bone marrow transplants cited in the report to the Legislature was either zero or 7 percent, depending on whether that unidentified 14th patient lived. But transplant experts put the actual survival rate, based on national studies, at over 40 percent.

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Matthew NY Times registration is free and IMO worth the minor inconvenience. Here’s the beginning of the article:

Its free now? The last I checked years ago it wasn't. Good to know it has changed. Thank you.

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