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AIDS Action Weekly Update

November 1, 1996

Welcome to AIDS Action Council's Weekly Washington Update, an on-line newsletter that reviews what is happening in Washington on AIDS policy issues each week. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us at the e-mail address listed below.

Legislative Proposal To Extend Medigap To People With Disabilities Planned For 105th Congress

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Representative Nancy Johnson (R-CT), and Representative John Dingell (D-MI) are planning to introduce a legislative proposal to improve the portability of Medigap policies. Under current law, disabled individuals who are younger than 65 and qualify for Medicare are not allowed to enroll in Medigap policies. The legislative proposal would allow disabled individuals under 65 to access Medigap policies. As people with HIV/AIDS live longer, they are more frequently qualifying for Medicare by maintaining their eligibility for SSI and SSDI for at least 25 months. Access to Medigap is particularly important for people living with HIV/AIDS because Medicare itself does not pay for most outpatient prescription drugs. Medigap policies would allow individuals to access prescription drugs and other services.

Welfare Reform And Immigrants Conference

The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, National Council of La Raza, National Immigration Forum, and National Immigration Law Center convened a conference in Washington October 27-29 to discuss the challenges for immigrants resulting from the welfare reform legislation passed in the 104th Congress. Conference participants included immigrant and refugee advocates, people with disabilities, health care administrators and providers, and legal aide organizations. The conference focused on federal, state, and local implementation issues and the advocacy strategies necessary to address those issues. In particular, participants discussed how changes to the welfare program will affect access to Medicaid and public health services, Social Security Insurance (SSI), food stamps, and other vital nutritional and social services. Representatives from federal agencies including OMB, HHS, INS, and SSA briefed the conference participants on regulatory and administrative issues related to welfare reform implementation. In addition to planning for the 105th Congress, conference participants developed strategies to help influence the "fixes" to welfare reform promised by the Clinton Administration.

NIH To Establish HIV Standard Of Care

At a meeting of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Committee, director Dr. William Paul announced a process by which the NIH will establish an HIV standard of care concentrating on the implications of the availability of the new therapies on medical practice. The working group assigned to develop this standard includes 22 prominent physicians and researchers and two community members. Dr. Paul stated that it was the intention of the group to publish guidelines by the end of January.

The group will hold a public meeting on November 13th and 14th in Washington, DC. The working group's intention at this meeting is to analyze the scientific issues that will make up the bulk of their recommendations. Presentations by eminent scientists will include discussions of HIV replication dynamics, analysis of tissue reservoirs, the relationship between viral load and disease progression, the relationship between CD4 increases and recovery of the immune system, combination therapy in established infection, the next generation of protease inhibitors, and strategies to inhibit resistance. HRSA and HCFA intend to include these standards in their 1997 policy analysis activities. Free registration is available by contacting Johanna McDonough at 301/986-4870. Registration deadline is November 8, 1996.

Remember Them With Your Vote On November 5

AIDS Advocates remind all Americans that, as the November 5th election date approaches, it is important to remember all those who have lost their battles with AIDS. As you cast your ballot for President and other elected officials on Tuesday, also remember the hundreds of thousands living with HIV and AIDS today. It is imperative that our elected officials provide leadership to ensure that our nation's response to the AIDS epidemic is successful. This includes providing measures to prevent HIV transmission; supporting research for treatments, vaccines and a cure; and a commitment to provide all Americans living with HIV and AIDS the care and housing they need to stay alive. On November 5th, REMEMBER THEM WITH YOUR VOTE!!!

For more information contact:
Lisa White
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Ave., NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council. It is a part of the publication AIDS Action Weekly Update.