Obamacare foes better never need a transplant - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Obamacare foes better never need a transplant

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Posted: Monday, December 13, 2010 1:55 pm

Much to do about nothing? Or nothing much done?

Conservative opposition to health care reform soon will point to the loss of funding for organ transplants under Arizona’s Medicaid program (the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System).

Before legislation was passed and before funding was axed, many of those same conservatives pointed out that the U.S. had the finest health care system and that “Obamacare” was threatening to spoil it. Soon some will be attempting to connect the dots between health care reform and the demise of the organ transplant program in Arizona. Certainly our august governor will either attempt to make this connection or will stand by smiling as others do.

But let’s get some perspective before we follow in this leap of logic.

As little as five years ago, many who had private health care coverage and who also needed an organ transplant found that their coverage was questionable, or that questions about coverage made it hard to get placed on the recipient list.

Advised by the surgeons on what to do, many engineered their finances to become AHCCCS eligible so that they could get on the list. Such engineering included sham divorces and losing employment. You see, these surgeons were happy to receive lower-scheduled AHCCCS/Medicaid payments than no payments under the less-than-reliable private health care plans.

Recall, 20 percent of private health care insurance revenues were being spent on denying coverage, perhaps nowhere more frequently than with transplant claims. This occurred not only in Arizona, but elsewhere in places like Texas. And before the 2010 health care reform, Medicaid/AHCCCS patients often had access to this care. Now, due to decisions by our governor, they often do not.

AHCCCS did help control health care costs. But it could not and did not lead to expanded coverage by private insurers.

Wonder what will happen now that denial of private health care coverage will soon be prohibited? Thanks to Obamacare, we will be finding out.

So all of you calling for repeal of Obamacare, should you succeed with repeal, pray neither you nor any of your loved ones ever need an organ transplant, certainly not in Arizona!

Dale Whiting is a Chandler resident.

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