MSNBC "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Anna Tovar
Date: Nov. 30, 2010
Location: Unknown

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STATE REP. ANNA TOVAR (D), ARIZONA: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: The coverage that was taken away from Mr. Price, bone marrow transplant to treat his leukemia, Republicans cut it based on the state commission study that says it doesn"t work. Can you explain why you in particular could have told them differently about this?

TOVAR: Well, definitely, I am living proof that transplants work. I"ve had two transplants, stem cell and a bone marrow actually by the same doctor, by Mark Price, the same facility. So, I am--I am living proof that transplants do work.

OLBERMANN: Governor Brewer is literally choosing not to spend money, millions that she has on hand to pay for these transplants and actions like this. What to your knowledge is she using it for instead?

TOVAR: Well, we did find out that she"s used over $2.2 million on algae research and also another $1.5 million on restoring a roof to the Veterans Coliseum. But yet she"s yet to answer any of our requests on what she spent the $30 million that she has available.

OLBERMANN: Do you suppose, if you could have a ribbon cutting ceremony at every transplant, that she would suddenly be in favor of the transplants for the state Medicaid?

TOVAR: Well, definitely. I mean, there needs to be something done and the governor needs to spend her money wisely. These are taxpayers" money that she is spending. So, you know, taxpayers of Arizona--they have every right to question what she"s spending her money on and it would be, you know, a disgrace not to be able to save hundreds of lives here in Arizona by spending a little bit of that, you know, funds that she does have.

OLBERMANN: And this latest report that the governor wants to cut more than 300,000 Arizonans entirely from Medicaid. What will happen to them?

TOVAR: Well, they would be without health care. That means they would flood our emergency rooms. There would be kids without immunizations, without their primary health care. I mean, this would absolutely be ridiculous in Arizona not have to people getting basic primary health care.

OLBERMANN: Representative Tovar, is there any acknowledgement among Arizona"s Republicans in public or in private that they have, in fact, created in Arizona the very death panel that they fantasized about during the debate over the federal health care reform project?

TOVAR: Well, the chairman of the appropriations who"s a Republican has come out and said that they"ve made a mistake, there was an error in the information that they had received. But as to date, the governor or the Republicans have yet to do, to have any action to bring this forward and, you know, to create a solution, because people"s lives are at stake and there"s easy solutions that could come about that can solve, you know, this crisis and save people"s lives and giving them a second chance at life, like I did.

OLBERMANN: The governor believed that there were bodies with heads cut off in the Arizona desert. She believed that, you know, that even though it said it on front of her in the script that the opening remarks at her debate were not the opening remarks, and now she believes that transplants don"t work.

Is she just gullible? Does she just believe whatever somebody has told her provided she believes who the person is? Is this some sort of--does she see things? What is wrong with the governor of your state?

TOVAR: You know, I don"t know what is wrong with her because she"s gotten the correct information. It was actually my bone marrow doctor that has come about to bring factual information not only to her but to other, you know, senators and--here in the state of Arizona.

So, she has the correct information about, you know, over 42 percent who do get a transplant do make it and do survive. So, I"m not sure, you know, what she"s reading into it or what she"s not reading into it. But the facts are clear, is that people do survive and they can be productive members of society.

I mean, if you look at me, I"m living proof that, you know, one--even though, yes, I was deathly ill, I got a life-saving transplant. And now, you know, I consider myself very productive member of society and trying to help out as best I can in serving the public.

OLBERMANN: Arizona State Representative Anna Tovar--continued improved health to you and great thanks for your time tonight.

TOVAR: Thank you.

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