States across the country are facing budget crises. With health care spending being such a large part of state budgets, cuts to health care expenditures are surely coming. Arizona has proposed a number of measures to cut costs. One is a fee charged to Medicaid-enrollees who engage in unhealthy activity. Another is to cut payments for organ transplantation. In Physician Practice magazine, editor Bob Keaveney decried the cuts.
Keaveney makes good points about how so called “death panels” in the health care legislation were bogus but that real death panels are happening when states decide not to cover organ transplants. But can we continue to pay for everything? Probably not. At some point, we have to recognize that paying for those transplants comes at the cost of not paying for other things we’d like to have. The people who have to make these choices are not in an enviable position.