January 8, 2010
San Francisco, Calif. -- Project Inform has applauded Governor Schwarzenegger for providing an additional $97 million for California's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) in his 2010 budget proposal released today. ADAP assures access to anti-HIV medications for over 35,000 uninsured and underinsured Californians who can't otherwise afford them.
"By providing nearly full funding for ADAP, the Governor is acknowledging that ADAP is a life-saving program for HIV positive Californians that cannot be subject to cuts," said Anne Donnelly, Director of Health Care Policy. "His proposal will help thousands of Californians living with HIV to maintain healthy and productive lives."
However, Schwarzenegger did not include $9.5 million in his proposal for ADAP to provide medications for HIV-positive people incarcerated in county jails -- a cost that could shift to already cash-strapped counties. This $9.5 million problem comes in the context of $85 million in cuts to state funding of other HIV/AIDS services made in 2009. These cuts decimated critical HIV/AIDS programs including testing, prevention, home health care and housing, which Donnelly said badly need restoration.
Donnelly noted that the Governor's 2010 budget proposal contains serious cuts to other health and human services including $1.2 billion from the prison health system, cost containment of $750 in Medi-cal through wide ranging service reductions and eliminations and cuts of $146.1 million from Cal-WORKS. Further compounding the crisis, the budget calls for near to $7 billion from the federal government to fill in further gaps in state health care programs. While Project Inform appreciates the Governor's proposal to fund ADAP, we pledge to fight cuts to other essential services for low-income and vulnerable Californians, including those with HIV and Hepatitis C and B and in jails.
Project Inform said it will continue to work vigilantly with other advocates, including WORLD, Salva Vida and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to address the $9.5 gap that remains in ADAP funding for county jails, and with its partners outside the HIV community, including the Western Center on Law and Poverty and Health Access to fight the proposed Medi-Cal cuts announced today.
"We urge the Governor and the State Legislature to show leadership on behalf of vulnerable Californians and look at appropriate revenue increases to close the budget deficit," continued Donnelly. "Low-income Californians should not be forced to pay for a budget deficit with their health and their lives."