PHOENIX - A Valley man who needs a new liver, along with dozens of others, marched to the state capitol Saturday, in hopes of raising awareness about the importance of funding the state’s Medicaid program, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).
Francisco Felix has cancer and needs a liver transplant. He is one of the 98 people who lost coverage when Governor Jan Brewer approved cuts to AHCCCS, a move that aimed to help solve the state’s massive budget deficit.
“We are asking for the funds for the transplants,” said Felix, whose cousin, Lulu translated for him.
People from all across the Valley gathered at a Phoenix church this morning for a ‘Dream of Life Walk’. They marched to the capitol in hopes of raising awareness about the issue. Governor Brewer, however, isn’t in Arizona. She sent out a message on Twitter late Friday night that said she is in Alaska on vacation.
The cuts to AHCCCS were made last year as part of the new budget. It left 98 people who needed transplants without funding from the program. Two have died since the cuts were made.
“By subtracting this funding from them, these 96 remaining people will die,” said Dr. Richard Darling, who attended Saturday’s march. “It won't be that long either because some of them are very, very ill.”
State leaders have said the cuts were necessary because of the dire budget issues.
But for Felix, he and his family have resorted to selling food at local events to help raise money. They sell hot dogs, chips and drinks, in hope of getting enough money to pay for the transplant. They said they need about $500,000 and including donations, have raised about $100,000.
“I’m going to be fighting, I’m not going to give up,” Felix said.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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