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Arizona Transplant Patients Die on 'Death Panel'

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 10, 2011 5:51 AM

A second Arizona transplant patient has died. Gov. Jan Brewer's passed extreme budget cuts that stop paying for seven types of transplants, ABC News reports. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state's Medicaid agency, offers healthcare programs such as transplants for state residents.

Gov. Jan Brewer along with a Republican-led legislature made the cuts because they said that the state could no longer afford paying for the transplants.

Doctors and transplant patients throughout Arizona are criticizing the drastic budget approach. This approach to tackling the state's budget has angered many, including Nina Roosevelt Gibson, who is the granddaughter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She has a daughter who is on the transplant list for a heart transplant. She said:

"I'm outraged when we have 90-something people who were promised a transplant and were told as of Oct. 1 that you can't have it because the state wants to save money. They were promised transplants and have not been giving the time to raise the money that's necessary. People are going to lose their lives because they don't have the money."

Denying life saving transplants to individuals has led some, like Arizona Senate Minority Leader-Elect David Schapira, to claim that there is a "death panel" in the state.

"I would like to alert people in the rest of the country that we have death panels right here in Arizona, and those who cut this funding and refuse to restore it are the death panels," he told CNN.

However, Gov. Jan Brewer defends the budget measures: "The state has only so much money and we can only provide so many optional kinds of care," according to CBS. Only time will tell if the two bills in the legislature to help restore transplant funding will be passed.

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