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U.S. News

Washington AIDS Advisory Council Urges Gov. to Assist HIV-Positive Dual Eligibles With New Drug Co-Payments

September 2, 2004

The Washington state Governor's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS on Tuesday adopted a report to send to Gov. Gary Locke (D) urging him to take steps to help HIV-positive individuals who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare pay for the cost of new drug co-payments, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. Currently, dual eligibles -- some of whom are the "sickest and poorest" patients statewide, including HIV-positive people, low-income seniors and people with disabilities such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy -- are exempt from prescription drug co-payments. However, under the new law known as the Medicaid Modernization Act, dual eligibles by 2006 will be required to sign up for Medicare prescription drug benefits and pay between $1 and $5 per prescription or relinquish drug coverage completely, according to the Post-Intelligencer. The council's report urges the governor to lobby the federal government to use federal funds to cover the cost of co-pays for dual eligibles. However, the report says that if the federal government will not cover the costs, the state has a "moral obligation" to offset the cost of co-pays for dual eligibles, according to the Post-Intelligencer.

Possible Ramifications of New Plan
State Medicaid Director Doug Porter said that "national studies have shown that patients over age 65 are on an average of 26 medications over a year ... [a]nd disabled individuals on Medicaid can be on 17 to 20 drugs at a time." Tim Hillard, a council member and author of the council report, said, "We think co-pays will lead to people stretching their prescriptions or going without." Hillard added that skipping doses of medications is "especially dangerous" among HIV-positive people, not only for the patients themselves but also for public health reasons because inconsistent adherence to a drug regimen can lead to the development of drug-resistant HIV strains, according to the Post-Intelligencer. A spokesperson for Locke said that the governor had not yet seen the council's report and could not comment on it, the Post-Intelligencer reports. Approximately 120,000 Washington residents -- 11% of the Medicaid population in the state -- are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare; however, that 11% represents 48% of the state's prescription drug costs, according to Jim Stevenson, spokesperson for the state Department of Social and Health Services (Smith, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/1).

Back to other news for September 2, 2004


Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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