Thursday, January 13, 2005

Help save Medicaid for people with HIV

Below is an organizational sign-on letter written by the HIV Medicaid/Medicare Working Group. As you have likely heard, there is great concern that there will be efforts this year to cut funding and/or make harmful changes to Medicaid. This letter urges the President not to make such changes/cuts and explains the importance of Medicaid for people with HIV/AIDS.

The letter will be sent to the President and key Administrativeofficials, and will be distributed to Members of Congress during legislative visits in early February. Please help with this effort by signing your organization to the letter and encouraging others to do the same.

To sign this letter (organizations only), email Lei Chou at theaccessproject-at-aol.com

Please provide the following information:
  • Organization Name:
  • Address:
  • City/State/Zip:
  • Phone:
  • Contact person/Title:
  • email:

Deadline: 5 pm EST, Friday January 21st.

If you have any questions, contact Ryan Clary at rclary-at-projectinform.org . To sign-on, email theaccessproject-at-aol.com.

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Date

Dear Mr. President:

The undersigned organizations that serve and advocate for people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS are writing to strongly urge you not to propose cuts in Medicaid funding and/or any changes in the program's structure that would alter the open-ended financing for states. We also urge you not to weaken the individual entitlement or other key consumer protections that have helped Medicaid to serve the national interest so effectively for nearly four decades.

Medicaid is the largest source of federal financing for HIV/AIDS care in the United States. The program provides access to healthcare for 55% of all people living with HIV/AIDS, and 90% of all children living withAIDS. It plays a critical role in providing access to anti-HIV drugs that forestall illness and disability, and allow people to live longer, more productive lives. While Medicare and the Ryan White CARE Act are vital components of the national system of health care for people withHIV/AIDS, they do not have the resources and are not appropriately designed to respond to unmet needs if structure changes were made to Medicaid that would result in either fewer people qualifying for coverage or if states were forced to restrict services. Thus, any cuts or changes in Medicaid's financing structure will seriously jeopardize access to HIV/AIDS care in the United States.

Furthermore, we are firmly opposed to changes in the current structure of the Medicaid program that would turn the program into a block grant or cap federal funding. The individual entitlement provided underMedicaid is essential. The reliable and consistent federal funding stream allows the program to respond to increases in demand as more people with AIDS are identified - an important goal of the Centers forDisease Control and Prevention's Advancing HIV Prevention initiative, and supports access to more effective, less toxic anti-HIV therapies as they are developed.

The health of our country's most vulnerable residents must be viewed as a priority. We ask that you create a budget proposal for FY 2006 that ensures adequate Medicaid funding and maintains the program's current structure so that it can continue to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS and others who rely on this lifesaving program.

Sincerely,

Texas AIDS Network has signed on to the letter and urges other organizations to do the same.

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