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Women Challenge Medicaid Denials

Women Challenge Medicaid Denials


Two HIV-positive women are challenging decisions by their state-run Medicaid programs to deny coverage for HIV-related surgeries. Brenda Gwin of Phoenix is challenging a decision by Arizona's program to refuse to pay for a lifesaving liver transplant. Ashley Shaw, a 16-year-old from Boston, is suing Massachusetts's MassHealth for refusing to pay for surgery to remove her 'buffalo hump,' which her doctors say gives her severe headaches, neck pain, and abnormal posture. Shaw's doctors say the buildup of fatty tissue at the nape of her neck needs to be removed while the teen is still growing so that it doesn't cause permanent damage. But MassHealth denied coverage on the eve of the surgery and has refused to reimburse the family, which paid for the procedure. Gwin was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease in 2004, but Medicaid refuses to pay for transplant surgeries for HIV-positive patients.

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