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ADAP and Medicaid Financial Emergencies Growing

By John S. James

December 27, 2002

January 21, 2003: Advocates are working urgently in Congress and state legislatures to prevent decisions that could ultimately deny access to medical care to millions of low or middle income Americans with HIV or other illnesses. As this issue goes to press:

What Zackie Achmat recently said about South Africa will increasingly apply to the United States: "The country is realizing that people can actually buy life, and that this is unacceptable" (quoted in The New York Times, January 13, 2002).

What You Can Do

Millions of Americans already agree about the importance of the AIDS epidemic, and of access to healthcare, but probably 99 percent of them have never been heard by their political representatives, or in any public way. While specialists and organizations are already doing excellent work, we urgently need new advocacy campaigns designed to allow anyone to help, whenever and however they can. These campaigns need more accessible Web sites and action alerts. But even more importantly, they need political discussion and negotiation among AIDS and other organizations, to develop common actions signed onto by many of the most trusted organizations and individuals working in health.

Fortunately AIDS advocacy already has a long tradition of consensus letters, often signed by dozens of major organizations. But then the letter is delivered to some official, and perhaps a press release goes out, but that's it. Usually these campaigns have had no role for individuals or groups who want to help but cannot be heavily involved. We need similar consensus development for campaigns that the public can run with.

Such campaigns will enable hundreds of thousands of citizens to communicate at least occasionally with their federal, state, and local representatives. Congress and other officials will know that these people care about AIDS and health, greatly improving government commitment and political will. Millions of people already agree on the issues. They need better opportunities to act.

Meanwhile, here are some places to start:

We will closely follow advocacy and activism in 2003, and let you know as consensus-based, user-friendly campaigns are developed.

ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2002 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.

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