Health Care, Budgets & AZ's "Death Panel"

We look at state budget pressures and the new pressure to say “no” on health care.

Francisco Felix and his wife Flor Felix (AP)

Francisco Felix and his wife Flor Felix. Felix is one of dozens of Arizona patients who need liver transplants but can't get them because of moneysaving budget cuts to the state's Medicaid system. (AP)

States all around the country are scrambling to deal with gaping holes in their budgets. There are big obligations and not enough money. Many are looking hard at their Medicaid commitments.

Arizona has acted. Its governor, Jan Brewer, and state legislature, have cut off procedures that supporters say save lives. Critics now charge: “death panel.” Take your damaged heart and go. Arizona says, “What should we do?”

Other states have other problems: pulling the teeth of the poor instead of fixing them; weighing more cuts.

We look at the Arizona story, and rationing health care by budget cut.

-Tom Ashbrook


Jocelyn Guyer, Co-Executive Director, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Family and Children.

Kim Vega, sister of Douglas Gravagna, who in 2006 was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and this summer qualified for a heart transplant. In October Douglas learned that Arizona would not fund his transplant. He is hoping to raise $300,000 through the National Transplant Assistance Fund – or NTAF – so he can get on a list to get a new heart.

Monica Coury, Assistant Director, Office of Intergovernmental Relations, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which is Arizona’s Medicaid Agency.

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