San Francisco Chronicle Endorses Bill To Extend Medi-Cal Coverage to HIV-Positive Individuals
An Assembly-passed bill (AB 2197) that would extend Medi-Cal coverage to low-income HIV-positive state residents who have not received an AIDS diagnosis demonstrates "compassion and fiscal prudence," and the Senate and Gov. Gray Davis (D) should approve the legislation, according to a San Francisco Chronicle editorial (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/18). Under the bill, beneficiaries would have to be HIV-positive and enrolled in the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program to qualify for the expanded Medi-Cal coverage (California Healthline, 7/1). According to the editorial, regulations that limit Medi-Cal coverage to beneficiaries diagnosed with AIDS "amount to a false economy." The editorial points out that early treatment of HIV-positive individuals helps delay the onset of AIDS, when health care costs "rise exponentially," and can "keep people with HIV healthy and working, thus paying taxes." The editorial adds that the legislation would require the Department of Health Services to "encourage" Medi-Cal beneficiaries who have AIDS to switch from fee-for-service to managed care coverage, which would reduce the cost to the state. "The savings from the lowered costs of treating people with AIDS-related diseases could then be applied to expanding treatment to people in the early stages of HIV," the editorial concludes (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/18).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.