HRC Praises DC For Medicaid Expansion For People Living With HIV

The Human Rights Campaign welcomed the announcement that
HIV-positive District of Columbia residents will now have expanded access to
care and treatment through Medicaid. Without the use of
waivers, current federal law precludes states from using Medicaid funds
for the treatment and care of HIV-positive individuals who have not yet
developed AIDS, seriously undermining the health of HIV-positive people.

"No state should have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to provide
health care to HIV-positive individuals," said HRC Political Director
Winnie Stachelberg. "We urge Congress to pass the Early Treatment for
HIV Act to end restrictions on the use of Medicaid funding for
HIV-positive individuals. Restrictions on state funding perilously
limit the ability to prevent the onset of AIDS.

The innovative expansion secured by the District of Columbia will permit
Medicaid funding to be used for primary and preventive care for
low-income, HIV-positive District residents.

"We also praise the work of the DC Primary Care Association and the DC
Department of Health for their work to secure the health of people
living with HIV," Stachelberg added. "As the Treatment Access Expansion
Project and a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study shows, providing
critical health care services to individuals with HIV makes sound sense
for humanitarian, public health and fiscal reasons."

According to the study, if enacted, over a 10-year period, ETHA would:

  • Reduce the death rate for persons living with HIV on Medicaid by
    fifty percent (50%);

  • Slow disease progression and improve health outcomes, with 35,000
    more individuals with CD4 counts above 500 under ETHA than under
    baseline Medicaid; and,

  • Decrease federal Medicaid spending by nearly $32 million.

For more information on the study, visit
http://www.taepusa.org/etha.htm.

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