December 7, 2010
Will the Dems step in to save ADAPs too?
Two Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that would pump $101 million in unobligated discretionary stimulus funding into the nation's cash-starved AIDS Drug Assistance Programs.
This could mean that our ADAPs might -- just might -- get some relief before Congress leaves town this year.
The text of the bill (S.4006) has yet to be posted (we'll do that as soon as it's available). But here are the details from David Ward at N.C. Sen. Richard Burr's office:
The bill is sponsored by Burr and co-sponsored by Oklahama Sen. Tom Coburn. (A recent error in Congressional Quarterly said the bill was co-sponsored by Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin -- that's not the case). It's nearly identical to S.3401, which was introduced in May but has languished in the Senate health committee since.
While the old bill proposed shifting $126 to ADAPs, the new bill's $101 million proposal subtracts the $25 million the president funneled into ADAPs earlier this year.
"The ADAP situation is so dire that any money can only help," said Bill Arnold of the Community Access National Network, which seeks to improve access to medical services for those living with HIV and HCV. "So yes, any movement to help ADAP is a big deal. Now we have to see how much help, how quickly, and what can be agreed on by both chambers. If [Congress] really want[s] to leave town by December 18, it can't drag on much longer."
The nation's ADAPs provide lifesaving medications to low and mid-income underinsured people living with HIV. In the past year, many states have stopped accepting individuals to their programs, and the national wait list to receive medication via ADAP has rocketed to 4,369 individuals in nine states. Seventy-eight of those individuals live in Burr's North Carolina. Nearly two dozen other states have implemented devastating cost-saving measures, knocking an untold number of individuals from their programs.
Update Dec. 10, 2010: The bill text is now available. See below.