Transplant man needs to live no longer covered under AHCCCS

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX – Budget cuts to the state's Medicaid program AHCCCS went into effect Friday but it was a few hours too late for a local father who is dying of Leukemia.

The transplant operation Mark Price needs is no longer covered under his health program even though he got was notified Friday there are two perfect bone marrow matches.

Price explains, “We got a phone call from the hospital telling us the good news that there were two perfect matches.”

Nevertheless Friday is also the day the Arizona’s Medicaid benefits that would pay for the expensive transplant expired.

Price says, “It’s one day late and yeah, I’m very disappointed. I’m scared. I’m very scared.”

Price and his family have to come up with over $250,000 to pay for the operation. The family is now pleading for the state government to reverse the cuts.

Price's mother, Shelly Gerhart, is a state employee and even went to Gov. Janet Brewer's office Friday. She says the governor was not available and there was not anyone else there to talk to her.

Other lawmakers are listening, like democratic Representative Anna Tovar. She is a Leukemia survivor and also a bone marrow recipient. She says, “At the time the information presented to representatives was misleading and I think now we have a right to reinstate something that was wrong and make it right to save lives.”

Gov. Brewer says the cuts were hard but necessary and her spokesperson made clear it is unlikely the governor will change her mind and move to reinstate the transplant cuts.

If you would like to help the family, you can email Mark's mom, Shelly, at