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Arizona ‘death panel’? State Medicaid cuts poised to let some poor patients die

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A law in Arizona that cuts Medicaid funding for certain transplant operations is likely to bring about the deaths of poor residents in need of such procedures.

Starting in October, a measure passed by the Republican-led state legislature began denying Medicaid funds for organ transplants such as bone-marrow, lung, heart and liver transplants, which can be very expensive and are often performed in life-threatening cases.

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The New York Times reports that Arizona doctors deem it a “a death sentence for some low-income patients, who have little chance of survival without transplants and lack the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for them.”

Procuring Medicaid funds for such procedures can require poor patients to sit on a waiting list for lengthy periods of time, and the law is denying funding to those who have waited for years before its enactment.

“I appreciate the need for budget restraints,” Dr. Andrew Yeager, director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at the Arizona Cancer Center, told the Times. “But when one looks at a potentially lifesaving treatment, admittedly expensive, and we have data to support efficacy, cuts like this are shortsighted and sad.”

The law has brought about a wrenching twist of fate for Arizona patients who need a transplant but lack the money, especially those at the front of the waiting list and denied the option at the last minute.

Arizona physicians and transplant centers have unsuccessfully lobbied for temporary funding. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s office described it as a “literally as a last resort” option to bridge the state’s budget shortfall.

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But Democrats, such as State Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, weren’t having any of it. “We made it very clear at the time of the vote that this was a death sentence,” she said. “This is not a luxury item. We’re not talking about cosmetic surgery.”

The law has been dubbed across the country by opponents as Arizona’s “Death Panel” — a reference to Sarah Palin’s false yet influential claim last year that the Affordable Care Act permitted government officials to deny care to patients at their discretion.

The Associated Press chronicled the plight of Arizona patients on Medicaid who need organ transplants and must produce the money or face death.

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“Something needs to be done,” said Dr. Emmanuel Katsanis, a bone marrow transplant expert at the University of Arizona, according to the Times. “There’s no doubt that people aren’t going to make it because of this decision. What do you tell someone? You need a transplant but you have to raise the money?”


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2020 Election

WATCH: CNN fact checker shows how Trump campaign ‘egregiously altered’ Biden photos in new ad

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CNN fact checker Daniel Dale on Thursday showed on President Donald Trump's campaign has been blatantly manipulating photos of former Vice President Joe Biden to make it look like he has spent the last year sitting in his basement.

While appearing on "New Day," Dale dissected images of Biden in Trump's new ad and showed how the campaign used Photoshop to put the photos in a completely different context.

"[The ad] uses three misleading images, one of which is egregiously altered," Dale said. "That first image shows Joe Biden speaking at a town hall in Iowa outdoors at a nature preserve... what the ad does is remove the microphone from his hand and remove the trees, replacing it with a wall to make him seem like he's alone and not talking to anyone."

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Expert explains the psychopathology that underlies Trump’s dictatorial behavior

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I’m not being hyperbolic or melodramatic when I say that democracy itself is on the line on November 3. Donald Trump has been on a mission to subvert our democracy and to push it toward an autocracy. No president has ever disavowed democracy like Trump. No president has ever wanted to change our democratic way of life like Trump.

Trump has shown little interest or intent in following our Constitution. He is not abiding by the emoluments clause. He breaks norms and rules at will. He does not recognize that the three branches of government are co-equal. He operates as if the executive branch has total power. Our democracy is not based on the executive branch having absolute power. It requires that the three branches have separate powers in a check-and-balances system. Trump impugns democracy because it limits his power and requires him to be held accountable.

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‘Donald who?’ Presidential historian predicts GOP support for Trump will erode in the face of a ‘blue wave’

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MSNBC's Jon Meacham predicts that President Donald Trump won't be able to count on Republican support through a lengthy vote-counting process.

The historian and author told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that GOP support may wane if Democrats strengthen their House majority and take over the Senate from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, even if the results of the presidential election aren't known until weeks later.

"There's a much better chance that Joe Biden will end up somewhat centering the Democratic Party than anybody is going to come along and center the Republican Party," Meacham said, "and I think that's an existential threat to a Republican Party that has sold its soul, the check bounced, and they've got to figure out what are they going to do to attempt to be something approaching majority party in this demographically changing country."

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