I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Friday, May 7, 2010

State of Arizona Health Care: Killing us Softly.

Once in awhile someone at the Arizona Republic writes a decent editorial. This is one of those times. For anyone who has any doubt about the selfishness and brutality of our current Arizona legislature and governor - the Republican Party elite - read on.

The Governor just signed a new bill this week, by the way, that restores some of the other health care funds that the legislature cut this spring. The legislature reversed itself only because the feds required it in order for them to keep getting medicaid funding - not because they were concerned about all those sick citizen children they screwed.

The long and short of it: these people have very little regard for life, American or otherwise. They would kill us by withholding medical care just as readily as they would leave migrants in the desert to die, all for the sake of protecting their own assets - while levying even more taxes on ours.

Happy Hepatitis Awareness Month, by the way, dear Governor. And tomorrow begins Women's Health Care Week. These Americans - and many more in this state - will suffer terribly and die because of you and your party. Even your NRA membership can't cover up your betrayal of our citizenry - much less the rest of humanity.

Please, America:
Nothing but grief trickles down in this state, and
they're going to criminalize and kill us for resisting anyway.


Kick her out of the union, if possible,
for treason against the People.


Some budget cuts are death sentences

One of the strongest arguments for immigration reform is that Americans must take care of Americans first.

So why aren't we doing it?

Some of the best doctors in Arizona told state legislators that if they cut transplant services from the AHCCCS budget, hard-working Arizonans will die.
The legislators cut the services.

The doctors and the people who work with their patients tried a different tack, pointing out that the cost of keeping sick patients alive until they die is more expensive in the long run than providing transplant services.

The legislators cut the services.

The doctors were from University Medical Center, Banner Good Samaritan and the Mayo Clinic.
They laid out their case in coldly understandable terms, writing, for example:

"As of 19 April 2010, there are 51 AHCCCS patients on the liver transplant
wait list with Hepatitis C. Of those patients waiting, approximately 17 of those patients will die this year if transplantation is not a covered service. Based on the current average reimbursement rate for transplantation ($149,670), the estimated cost savings to AHCCCS will be $2,544,390."

That is the short-term saving.

It is difficult to determine the long-term cost to the state of caring for patients who slowly wither away. It could take years.

The doctors ran to same numbers for heart-transplant patients, lung-transplant patients, pancreas-transplant patients.

The legislators cut the services.

And Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill into law, eliminating AHCCCS coverage for the operations.

Before all this occurred, I wrote a column about one of those patients, a man who has been receiving medical treatment under AHCCCS, Arizona's Medicaid program.

"I can't work anymore and we ran out of coverage a while back," he told me. "It's terrible needing help. It's not what I wanted. But when you run out of money, what can you do? If I don't get a transplant, I guess the state won't have to pay for me or worry about me until I walk into an emergency room close to dying. They can't turn me away then."

People like Charlie Thomas, a transplant social worker, have been dealing with the threat of these cuts for years, always managing to stave them off. Until this time.

This time, legislators needed a quick fix.

"The people who benefit from these transplant services are people who were working, paying taxes, being good citizens and then got sick and lost everything. They're us," Thomas told me.

Still, the services were cut.

The transplant physicians and hospitals are hoping they'll have a second chance to make their case before the new rules go into effect in July. Before people die who could otherwise be saved. They believe they have the scientific data and the economics on their side.

One of those hoping to get the Legislature to reconsider is Leo Corbett, a former state senator and one-time Republican candidate for governor who knows what it means to make tough budget decisions. He's also a heart-transplant recipient.

"I'm not sure that legislators got all the information they needed to make an informed decision," he told me. "It seemed to have been in the hands of the bean counters rather than the policy makers. I believe this can be resolved in a fiscally sound manner that still serves the need of these patients. I hope so, anyway. I believe, like a lot of people, that a society or a state is judged by how it treats its poor people. For most of these folks, the illness took all they had."

Reach Montini at 602-444-8978 or

1 comment:

  1. According to the Republic, the only people whose lives matter are the ones who are "like us". "Hardworking" citizens. What about people dying of liver failure due to hep C they contracted in jail or prison? 30-40% at a minimum are infected, and they can hardly get interferon treatment to destroy the virus while they're well - by the time they come out, they'll be needing disability income, transplants or life support.