Clinton's Plans for the FY 1998 Budget and Medicaid Restructuring Could Mean Reduction in Services for People living with HIV/AIDS
December 27, 1996
We are very concerned that in an effort to balance the federal budget by the year 2002, President Clinton will call for deep cuts in domestic discretionary spending programs and entitlement programs (including Medicaid) that people living with HIV/AIDS depend upon, as well as HIV prevention and AIDS research programs that are vital to ending this epidemic.
As administration officials prepare the fiscal year (FY) 1998 budget, we are hearing that their budget will contain major cuts in housing, health and social service programs. While it does not appear likely that AIDS programs will be cut in the President's FY 98 budget, many AIDS programs will not receive any increases and others will experience only modest increases. Adequate additional funding for all AIDS programs is urgently needed!
We are also hearing that the Clinton Administration may recommend a restructuring of the Medicaid program in order to significantly reduce federal spending for this program and contribute to the President's balanced budget goal. This could mean that the contribution per Medicaid beneficiary is set or "capped" at a maximum level ("per capita cap"). While this is a less draconian response than a Medicaid block grant, this "per capita cap" could threaten the health care available to people with AIDS in the Medicaid program. Because HIV disease is a costly condition to cover, states could lose money by covering AIDS patients under a per capita cap with the reduced federal contribution. In order to save money, states could choose to modify the benefit package by eliminating optional benefits like prescription drug coverage. States might also choose to eliminate optional eligibility categories like "medically needy" individuals -- a group of Medicaid beneficiaries which also includes many individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
These critical budget decisions are being made right now, and will be finalized sometime in mid-January.
AIDS ActionContact the White House and tell President Clinton:
The White House
White House Comment Line: 202/456-1111
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.