Ohio: AIDS Group Wants Lawmakers to Add Money to State Budget
May 26, 2011
Gov. John Kasich's proposed two-year budget calls for $5.5 million a year for the state AIDS Drug Assistance Program. The House version of the budget boosted that figure by $300,000 annually. But some advocates say lawmakers need to provide much more funding to clear the backlog of low-income patients waiting to get into ADAP, as well as to serve the projected number of people who will need its services.
Due to budget cuts and increased demand, Ohio health officials modified ADAP last year by reducing eligibility, lowering the number of drugs covered, and instituting a waiting list for enrollment. At a recent Senate Finance Committee meeting, state Health Department Director Ted Wymyslo said ADAP needs another $22.2 million in funding over the next two years to roll back those restrictions and anticipate future needs.
"When a patient misses treatments or receives inadequate mediation, there are serious medical consequences," Ohio AIDS Coalition Director Kevin Sullivan told senators. "But there are also consequences for prevention, since there is now overwhelming research supporting the hypothesis that when people with HIV/AIDS are getting good, sustained treatment, their likelihood of transmitting the virus to others drops significantly."
Kasich's spokesperson, Rob Nichols, said that while the governor supports ADAP, financial realities must take precedence. "Naturally, we'd want to see this program funded as robustly as possible, but when you're $8 billion in the hole you have to have priorities, you have to make decisions," said Nichols.
Dayton Daily News
05.19.2011; Laura A. Bischoff
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