Crowley Addresses AIDS Activists
April 30, 2009
On April 27, President Obama's director of National AIDS Policy spoke at a gathering for participants of the annual AIDSWatch lobbying event in Washington. The National Association of People With AIDS hosted the public forum, during which Jeff Crowley outlined three priorities: developing a national strategic HIV plan; participating in the health care reform debate; and focusing on prevention.
Crowley's office, which is part of the White House domestic policy council, has $1.4 million to develop a national AIDS strategy. Crowley said he will engage other parts of the administration to maximize support for the plan and "also to hold them accountable" for implementation. A national strategy might look different from a community HIV strategy, Crowley cautioned.
"We need to think about how we get to health reform," Crowley said. Ryan White programs were meant to bridge health care gaps and meet special needs, and Medicare and Medicaid are the largest payers of HIV-related care, Crowley said. Significant revisions to Ryan White programs should be deferred until health care reform proposals have been fleshed out, he said.
"We have a window of opportunity with HIV prevention," Crowley said. "You are going to see more money" for prevention in the president's budget, but "it is not just about the money, it is about focusing on what we are doing on prevention." The administration is "looking for a model [in all program activity] that will hold the federal government accountable," while promoting state and local involvement, he said.
AIDS advocates are pressing for passage of the Early Treatment for HIV Act, a measure that would allow states to provide HIV patients earlier treatment under Medicaid. Currently, one must have an AIDS-defining illness to qualify for Medicaid treatment.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
04.30.2009; Bob Roehr
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