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California’s Proposed Budget May Hit State ADAP

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California’s proposed budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year may force uninsured or low-income HIV patients to pay more out-of-pocket costs for their treatment.

Governor Jerry Brown announced his self-described “painful” budget cuts last week. The Bay Area Reporter says the proposed financial plan would slash state spending by 12.5 BILLION dollars.

To help reach that goal, Brown has suggested trimming funds for the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program, or ADAP–which is set to serve more than 42-THOUSAND people in 2011-2012. Many low-income and uninsured patients rely on the already strapped-for-cash program to get lifesaving medications.

The Bay Area Reporter says Brown’s budget would increase a patient’s annual copayments to the maximum percentages allowed under federal law–which is five percent of someone’s gross income. Doing so would reportedly save the state about 17 MILLION dollars.

But for AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein, the proposed changes pose a death threat to HIV patients

WEINSTEIN: “Well the reality is that people are going to go off the program–it’s a form of rationing. So, basically, instead of saying we’re going to have a waiting list, they’re going to say that we’re going to charge people who can’t afford it this amount of money, and they’ll just disappear, and eventually they’ll die.”

Weinstein says his organization is instead calling for more rebates from the drug companies that provide ADAP with medications.

But as of right now, next year’s proposed funding for the healthcare program is at about 520 MILLION dollars, with nearly 30 percent set to come from the state’s general fund.

Written by Xorje Olivares

January 19, 2011 at 2:06 PM

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