HIV/AIDS: Governor Signs One AIDS Bill, Vetoes Two Others
Gov. Gray Davis signed one HIV/AIDS bill and vetoed two others --including one that would have required HIV to be reported via a unique identifier system -- last weekend. AB 155 allows disabled individuals, including those with AIDS, to return to work but continue to receive Medi-Cal benefits. Craig Thompson, president of AIDS Project Los Angeles, said, "AB 155 will ensure that individuals living with AIDS can enter or reenter the workplace without compromising the access to care and treatment needed to maintain stable health and sustain their quality of life." Davis vetoed AB 103 which would have implemented an HIV surveillance system based on unique patient identifiers (APLA release, 10/12). California currently is pursuing a CDC grant to fund such a system and the governor said he "will take steps to immediately implement such a system," if the state receives funding. Davis asserted that his budget "reflects a strong commitment towards preventing the transmission of HIV and in providing effective treatment," and whether or not "California receives federal funding for surveillance, [he] will ensure California is directing its own HIV/AIDS efforts in a manner that stresses prevention, counseling and testing" (Davis release, 10/10). Thompson said APLA will work with the governor, the state DHS, the Legislature and the CDC to see the project to fruition (APLA release, 10/12). Davis also vetoed AB 217 which would have required DHS to "establish risk-adjusted capitation rates for beneficiaries with HIV based on a specific methodology and require managed care plans to pass-through an appropriate proportional amount of those rates to providers treating Medi-Cal beneficiaries with HIV." Davis defended his veto by pointing out that Medi-Cal already has a special rate for individuals with AIDS, implemented by the DHS. Medi-Cal contractors also have the ability to request special capitation rates, but according to the DHS, no requests had been made for reduced HIV-specific capitation rates. Additionally, Davis asserted that the need for special rates for HIV-infected Medi-Cal beneficiaries was never identified. The governor also argued that the bill would limit DHS' ability to negotiate capitation rates with managed care plans, thus reducing Medi-Cal's cost-effectiveness (Davis release, 10/10).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.