More on this with Chris Hayes.
More details from the Tuscon Weekly for the Streaming Video Challenged.
Keith Olbermann covered the stories of sick Arizonans who need organ transplants to survive. Earlier this year, Gov. Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature cut roughly $5 million in funding for transplants, which resulted in the loss of an estimated $15 million in federal matching funds.
This is what "Fiscal Reponsibility" and "Austerity" really look like, those with the greatest and most desperate need must do without - even when their lives are at stake - while those who have much and need little, get more and more and more Tax Cuts.
With Brewer's Medicaid Cuts in place, the new liver that Francisco Felix (at NATFUND.org) had been prepped to received was taken away at the last minute because Arizona's State Health Care would no longer pay for it. He needs $200,000 to pay for the procedure. The Heart transplant that Randy Shepard (NTAFUND Link) needs to survive was refused, he's going to need $1 Million to pay for it, and even if he does manage to get onto Medicaid - but it only pays 80%, so he'll still need to come up with another $100,000-120,000 as well.
Governor Jan Brewer has refused to call a special session of the Arizona Legislature to address this budget shortfall, she has so far refused to uee any of the $30 Million in discretionary Stimulus funds she still has available even though it directly effects the lives of at 98 Arizonans.
Nationally about 18,000 people a year die from denied Medical Insurance claims, which is nearly as many as those who die from violent homocide. We send those Murderers to Jail, but who thinks Jan Brewer's freedom is at risk for the deaths she has and will cause?
Of course we shouldn't be truly surprised by any of this, Francisco and Randy are in exactly the same situation that Eric De La Cruz was in when he desperately needed a Heart Transplant, but wasn't able to get one through Medicaid, or able to qualify for Medicare before he passed away in July.
Eric De La Cruz lost his life on July 4th. He was in desperate need of a heart transplant for about two years, but he couldn't get on federal Medicare. He had state Medicaid, but it wouldn't cover a heart transplant.
His sister, Veronica De La Cruz, says that still wasn't enough. Most hospitals also require supplemental insurance. According to a post on Veronica's Twitter site, Eric died around 2:30pm. Click here to read her note to Eric's Twitter army.
It's also the story of Nataline Sarkysian, a 17 year old young woman who'se private insurance company, Cigna, refused to pay for her desperately needed Liver transplant.
Nataline ultimately Died.
When her mother Hilda went to Cigna Headquarters to ask "Why did they let my daughter die" - the staff there heckled, laughed and flipped her the bird.
Surrounded by supporters, Hilda Sarkisyan marched into Cigna Corp.’s Philadelphia headquarters on a chilly fall day, 10 months after the company refused to pay for a liver transplant for her daughter.
"You guys killed my daughter," the diminutive San Fernando Valley real estate agent declared at the lobby security desk. "I want an apology."
What she got was something quite different.
Cigna employees, looking down into the atrium lobby from a balcony above, began heckling her, she said, with one of them giving her "the finger."
Sarkisyan walked out, stunned and hurt.
"They showed me their true colors," she said. "Shame on them."
Hilda wanted to know "Why?" they denied her daughters treatment. Here at the premier to SiCKo Dr. Linda Peeno explains why. One Reason. Money.
Dr. Peeno: I had an ethical epiphany the day I saw a piece of sculpture bought, that cost about the same amount as a heart transplant (like the one she had denied for a dying man)
And what's the Tea Party stance? Anyone remember this, where Tea Partiers heckled and berated a Veteran with Parkinsons who held a one-man counter protest in support of Health Care Reform?
Bagger1: Nothing's for free here, you have to work for anything you get!
Bagger2: Let's start a pot for ya - here. (Tosses $1 at man). I'll decide if you get money - NO MORE HAND OUTS!
This they say to a Veteran, someone who actually did serve his country, and actually DID work to get Health Benefits through the VA, but was sitting in protest here to try and get better health care - for the rest of us. What they don't get is that Picking and Choosing whose going to receive help and who doesn't is the Heart of Discrimination, not fairness or equality. Social Services have to be implemented in a Non-Discriminatory manner or else it become a sick, sad game of Playing Favorites.
Kinda like a Death Panel.
What's the Pro-Life Position on this kind of thing?
Well, Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, RNC staffer, Friend of Jack Abramov and walking talking point cannon isn't all that concerned with people dying from lack of Health Care - he doubts it's a "Real Problem".
TP: On the issue of life, Harvard Medical School reported that on average 45,000 people die every year because of lack of health insurance. I know you don’t like the health reform bill passed last year. Do you think to protect life, Republicans in Congress have to propose have to propose a solution that covers everyone?
REED: Well that depends on how you define everyone, I don’t favor a federal individual mandate that says –
TP: Maybe another mechanism?
REED: Well we had already been working on other mechanisms for years. I mean, we’ve been during the Bush administration, Republicans in Congress significantly expanded community-based health clinics, where people can get free care.
TP: But there was still 50 million uninsured during the Bush years. [....]
REED: There's a difference between being uninsured, and not getting health insurance (Not Much ed.) I’m the son of an M.D. so I grew up in a small town in north Georgia and I assure you that there were a lot of people who came to see my father [...]
TP: So you think charity could be the public policy plan?
REED: I didn’t say that. [...] Secondly, Republicans have worked for decades to expand Medicaid where we are able to. [...] If Barack Obama had come forward with a plan that would have provided matching federal funds for state efforts to expand Medicaid for people who didn’t have health insurance, he would have been able to pass a bill with 200 to 250 votes. That isn’t what he did.
TP: I think [Republican Senator] Lamar Alexander said that’s like expanding single payer if you expand Medicaid. [...] There’s a little cognitive dissonance there if you say you want to expand Medicaid but it’s a terrible idea to put people on a government plan.
REED: I didn’t say I wanted to expand Medicaid. If he had gone forward with a plan like that, he would have been able to pass it on a bipartisan basis.
TP: You would have supported that?
REED: I didn’t say that. [...]
TP: My question was, 45,000 people die because of lack of health insurance. That’s a pro-life issue to cover people with health insurance. What do you think this new majority should do to cover this crisis? There is a healthcare crisis. [...]
REED: I’m not sure that you’re statistic is accurate.
In point of fact, Health Care Reform Did Expand Medicaid, and it did improve access to community clinics to the tune of $2 Billion. Republicans Fought these expansions every step of the way and have vowed now to roll them back and repeal them. Arizona does have $15 Million in Federal Matching Funds available for Medicaid, but they have to put up their own $5 Million first - and they can pull all or most of that from left-over Stimulus money they still have, and yet again Republicans want to TAKE BACK.
Conservatives argue we shouldn't have a Federal Mandate requiring everyone to have coverage, even if that mandate is significantly subsidized for those who can't afford it. They argue that States Should Decide, when in this case the State Has Decided and they've decided wrongly.
What's the Palin response? Well when I posted on her Facebook wall that 45,000 people a year are dying because of Health Insurance Recissions and Pre-existing Conditions - She Banned Me.
I somehow don't think we're going to get a better response from Brewer than we've seen from Palin, Reed or Tea Partiers in general. They really, deeply and truly, just Don't Give a SHIT about the poor, the sick and the dying.
For those who'd do give a shit and would like to donate to help people like Nataline, Eric, Francisco and Randy pay for their transplants - you can go to NTAFUND.org.