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Press Release

Tell Congress to Make Health Care Reform Work for People With HIV/AIDS!

June 19, 2009

Health care reform is moving fast through Congress, and provisions are at risk that would protect people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as those living with HIV/viral hepatitis coinfection. Opponents are citing high costs, but the reality is that 50% of people living with HIV and AIDS in the U.S. do not have regular health care!

Health care is a human right, and a critical investment for healthy families, a healthy work force and a healthy economy. Your help is vital NOW to ensure Senate committees keep key components of the legislation that protect people living with HIV and AIDS.

How you can help: CALL your two U.S. Senators in their Washington, DC office. Ask to speak to the staff person who handles HIV and health care issues. You might get their voicemail, or you might speak to them in person. Either way, tell them:

"My name is ____________ and I live in (city/state). I am very concerned that health care reform will not meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Any final health care legislation must eliminate the disability requirement for Medicaid and ensure that all low-income people, including childless adults, have early access to care. It must also include language from the Early Treatment for HIV Act which expands access to Medicaid for people living with HIV. Finally, it must have a public plan option to best ensure affordable access to comprehensive care for people with HIV. All three provisions are crucial to ensure that people with HIV/AIDS have early access to care and treatment that keep them healthy and productive. I urge Senator ______________ to do everything in his/her power to fight for these important provisions."

You can reach your senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 1-202-224-3121. If you don't know who your Senators are, go to www.congress.org and enter your zip code in the upper right corner. Phone calls are particularly effective because Congress is moving quickly. However, if you prefer to send an email, go to your Senator's website (linked from www.senate.gov). You will find instructions on sending emails to that office. Cut and paste the phone message, make sure your name and the Senator's name is included, and add a short personal note explaining why this issue is important to you.

The move to reform health care in the United States must ensure that everyone living with HIV benefits from early and reliable access to lifesaving care and treatment. Coordinated action by our entire community is needed to make sure Congress knows how important these three core provisions are for all of us:

  1. Expanding Medicaid for all low-income people, including childless adults, by eliminating current requirements that tie Medicaid to disability status. This would give approximately 42% of all people living with HIV who are currently uninsured immediate access to health care through Medicaid.
  2. Including Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA) language which gives states the option to expand Medicaid access to low-income people living with HIV whose incomes are above established Medicaid income eligibility rules. This will give states the option to expand coverage for people living with HIV/AIDS, reaching more than 75% who are currently uninsured.
  3. Including a strong public plan option to help provide affordable access to comprehensive care for people HIV - nearly 30 percent of whom have no insurance. This would offer a national standard for coverage and greater dependability, consistency and security for people with HIV than private plans, which can charge higher prices and/or close, merge or change benefits at will.

All three of these priorities are crucial to ensure the best possible expansion of care and treatment for people with HIV/AIDS and must be part of any final health care reform package.

Decisions are being made quickly and Congress needs to hear directly from people who are most impacted by this legislation. Please take a minute to make two important phone calls today!

For more information: Go to www.taepusa.org for background information and analyses of various health care reform proposals and the impact on people with HIV/AIDS.



  
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This article was provided by Treatment Action Group.
 
See Also
U.S. Health Care Reform

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