Four California Lawmakers Call for $100 Million Increase in Funds for AIDS Assistance Program
Four U.S. representatives from California last Friday sent a letter to the House leadership that called for a $100 million increase in funds for the "beleaguered" AIDS Drug Assistance Program, according to a press release from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Reps. Mary Bono (R), Henry Waxman (D), Doug Ose (R) and Diane Watson (D) urged House lawmakers to increase funds for ADAP and "end waiting lists for AIDS drugs" (AIDS Healthcare Foundation release, 8/2). ADAP has about 80,000 beneficiaries nationwide, and the program enrolls an additional 600 beneficiaries each month. The federal government allocated $639 million in fiscal year 2002 for state ADAP programs, but the cost of the program has exceeded the allocation in many states. Some states face financial problems in their ADAP programs because many individuals with AIDS live longer and remain in the program longer as a result. At the same time, campaigns to increase the number of individuals who undergo HIV tests have contributed to an increase in the number of new ADAP applicants. Many states have limited ADAP coverage to certain treatments and services, and eight states have implemented waiting lists for the program. States will require an estimated $162 million in additional federal funds to maintain the solvency of ADAP programs through March 2004; a bill that would add $100 million in federal funds to the program has passed a Senate appropriations committee (California Healthline, 7/29). Clint Trout, AIDS Healthcare Foundation associate director of government affairs, said, "With over 1,200 uninsured Americans on waiting lists for life-saving medications, we're proud to see California's delegation speak out" (AIDS Healthcare Foundation release, 8/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.