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Health Care Reform Debate Heats Up

June 2, 2009

Federal health care reform efforts are well underway. The Obama administration has made it a clear priority and Congress is moving quickly to debate proposals, hold hearings, receive comments, and introduce legislation. Bills are expected to be introduced in the Senate in early June, and in the House of Representatives in July.

Project Inform is working in coalition with other advocacy groups to monitor, analyze and provide comments on proposals to ensure that the needs of people living with and at risk for HIV are addressed in this historic debate. A strong system of care for HIV/AIDS has been built through Medicaid, Medicare and the Ryan White program, and we must make certain that any reform ensures the same level of access to high-quality, affordable care, treatment, prevention, and screening.

Project Inform and partners in the HIV Health Care Access Working Group have developed a "2009 Health Care Reform Policy Platform" with ten priorities. The Platform's principles include:

  • broadening Medicaid eligibility requirements;
  • eliminating the two-year Medicare waiting period for people with disabilities;
  • establishing a mandatory minimum Medicaid benefits package;
  • limiting Medicaid and Medicare cost-sharing;
  • increasing the federal Medicaid matching rate to states in economic crisis;
  • implementing voluntary routine HIV screening;
  • protecting vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries facing coverage gaps;
  • improving access to private health insurance and implementing a public option;
  • expanding the role of Ryan White community-based programs;
  • investing in the clinical workforce

Health care reform leading to universal, comprehensive coverage and a standard of care resulting in increased health outcomes is a top priority for Project Inform. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that Congress and the White House deliver on their promise of an affordable, accessible health care system for all Americans, including individuals living with or at risk for HIV.

To help ensure the voices of people living with and at risk for HIV and advocates are included in the health care reform debate, Project Inform and the HIV Health Care Access Working Group will be convening HIV Community Health Care Reform Conference Calls open to all community members. These calls will allow all who join to hear updates on Congressional health care reform activities and the impact on HIV/AIDS-related services, get questions answered, share information, strategize and coordinate efforts. Beginning June 4th, the one-hour calls will be held the first and third Thursday of each month at 2:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time. To participate in these calls, dial: 218-339-2699; access code: 968918.

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This article was provided by Project Inform. Visit Project Inform's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
See Also
More on Paying for HIV/AIDS Medications

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