04/01/2011 08:50 am ET | Updated Jun 01, 2011

Jan Brewer Reverses Course On Restoring Transplant Funding

PHOENIX - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has proposed that the state restore Medicaid coverage for transplant patients -- which was reduced amid much controversy last fall.

Brewer announced the change Thursday as part of a major revamp of the state's Medicaid program. The plan, which includes enrollment freezes, would help save a projected $500 million to help close a $1.1 billion shortfall in the state's overall budget.

The Arizona governor signaled her desire to restore the funding in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The Arizona Republic reports:

Her letter reads in part, "Finally, I also propose the restoration of optional transplant services that were eliminated as part of the state's FY 2011 budget. I have long said that restoration of these services is only possible through a comprehensive plan that reforms Arizona's Medicaid program and ensures its long-term financial viability. I believe this is that plan. Therefore, I am asking the legislature to authorize the restoration of optional transplant services."

Brewer said her proposal is comprehensive enough to put the Medicaid program on solid long-term footing, so she is asking the Legislature to restore the cuts in coverage for transplants.

Approximately 100 people lost eligibility for receiving transplants under the cuts, which took effect Oct. 1.

Democratic Rep. Anna Tovar says the coverage's $1.2 million cost is affordable and should have been restored long ago.