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Illinois Governor Reduces State HIV Funding = Cuts to ADAP

More cuts coming to ADAP.

Illinois
Governor Pat Quinn released a proposed $35.6 million state budget on
March 6 that would reduce state HIV/AIDS funding by $4.27 million, or 16
percent.

“Thanks
to President Obama, many people with HIV will gain new health insurance
coverage through the Affordable Care Act, providing partial relief to
the state’s AIDS Drug
Assistance Program (ADAP),” said David Ernesto Munar, President/CEO of
the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “
Illinois has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvest ADAP savings to fund HIV prevention
and service programs that will reduce new HIV cases and improve health outcomes.”

Under
the Governor’s proposed budget, total state HIV spending would drop
from $26.23 million in FY13 to $21.75 million in FY14. AFC has learned
from sources at IDPH that the
funding cut would come from ADAP, which provides life-saving
medications to people with the disease.

In
2014, many current ADAP clients will transition to Medicaid or
subsidized private insurance programs available through new online
insurance marketplaces, also called exchanges. 
This shift will reduce the need for state spending on ADAP.  “Allegedly”. 

“HIV
is a communicable disease,” continued Munar. “The scientific evidence
is clear that when people with HIV receive clinical care, treatment, and
other essential services, the risk for
further HIV transmission is substantially decreased.” 

“About half of people with HIV are
not receiving medications or medical care,” said
Ramon Gardenhire, AFC’s director of government relations.
“Illinois should reinvest the savings from the ACA to connect people
with HIV to medical care: culturally sensitive boots-on-the-ground
outreach workers, substance abuse
and mental health treatment resources, and stable housing and
transportation options. Illinois should reinvest in these services since
the unmet need is so great.  Doing so will reduce new HIV cases and
future medical spending.”

If
enacted, HIV funding would be cut for the third year in a row. Since
2011, Illinois has reduced state HIV funding by $9 million, or 30
percent. 

“HIV
funding cuts have resulted in dramatic decreases in the availability of
HIV prevention, housing and supportive services across the state,” said
Gardenhire.  “It’s time for Illinois
to stop this trend and fund targeted investments that will help lower the burden and cost of HIV upon the state.”

To
ensure that people with HIV continue to receive services, the General
Assembly must immediately act to extend Medicaid coverage to all
low-income people, including people with HIV.

Sponsored by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago),
Senate Bill 26,
pending in the Illinois House, would
authorize Illinois to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
to provide Medicaid to about 342,000 low-income Illinois citizens who
are currently uninsured, including thousands who are living
with HIV/AIDS. Thanks to health reform, Illinois will be able to offer
Medicaid to this population at no expense to the state for the first
three years, and in later years the state will never pay more than 10
percent of the coverage cost.

SB
26, if approved by the Illinois House, would shift costs for HIV
medication from the state to the federal government, yielding savings to
Illinois that could be used to strengthen HIV
care and prevention efforts.

AFC,
together with HIV/AIDS medical and community-based services
organizations, calls on the Illinois General Assembly to reverse the
proposed funding cuts and pass SB 26 to gain federal
funding to provide HIV care through Medicaid.

AFC
urges advocates to join us in Springfield to lobby for important
HIV/AIDS issues in April and May of this year. Contact Lucy Baglin at
lbaglin@aidschicago.org
for more information on Medicaid advocacy. 

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