Government Medicine in Action

Tucson’s University Medical Center confirmed today that a patient who was refused a liver transplant because of state budget cuts has died.

The death was “most likely” due to the defunding of the organ transplant, said Jo Marie Gellerman, University of Arizona Department of Surgery spokeswoman.

She could not release any further information about the patient, who was taken off the waiting list Oct. 1 when Arizona stopped paying for certain organ transplants for patients covered by Medicaid. The patient did not die at UMC but had been scheduled to have the transplant there.

The patient is the second person to reportedly die while waiting for one of the transplants that were cut.

Between 95 and 100 people were taken off a waiting list for organ transplants when the defunding took effect.

Incoming Democratic Senate Minority Leader David Schapira has pre-filed proposed legislation to restore the transplant coverage this legislative session. The coverage shortfall amounts to $4 million – about $1.4 million in state money and the rest in federal matching funds.

See Thursday’s Arizona Daily Star for more on this story.

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