California: Governor Proposes $11 Million Cut to HIV/AIDS Programs
January 17, 2008
Facing a $14 billion deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing widespread budget cuts, including $11 million to HIV/AIDS programs. The Assembly's budget committee meets today for a hearing on the budget proposals.
"I am going to fight to make sure nobody is negatively impacted who has HIV in this budget," said the committee's chairperson, Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz).
The proposed cuts are: $7 million from the state AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP); $3.6 million from local HIV prevention and housing programs; a 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates; and eliminating some Medi-Cal services in mental health, optometry, podiatry, and adult dental care.
The California HIV Alliance, a group of seven AIDS service agencies across the state, is developing its strategy to fight the cuts. A major priority will be to protect ADAP from cuts that would affect low-income patients' access to drugs against co-morbidities and opportunistic infections.
Project Inform also sees cuts to HIV counseling and testing programs as undercutting the state's efforts to identify and treat people who are unaware they are infected.
"Provider rates are already low in California," said Anne Donnelly, Project Inform's director of health care policy. "It could cause additional access issues," she said. "For me, this year looks particularly problematic due to the apparent lack of willingness to raise revenues."
Members of the alliance believe "we can make a pretty strong case why these cuts will be particularly hurtful to people with HIV and AIDS," said Courtney Mulhern-Pearson, a science and public policy analyst at San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
01.17.2008; Matthew S. Bajko
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.