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ADAP Continues To Be In Crisis from Jules Levin
  For two years now ADAP has been underfunded and states have been unable to continue providing access to HIV treatment at the same levels as before. Each State has an ADAP which provides access to HIV treatment for individuals without Medicaid or private insurance. Some States have closed enrollment to new individuals and various other means have been imposed to narrow eligibility to HIV treatment and HAART. This crisis started building two years ago and is now in full bloom. Unless the tide is stemmed the crisis will get worse. Reduced funding to ADAPs sorely affects each State's ability and committment to providing access to hepatitis C treatments and for access to new HIV drugs such as Fuzeon and Reyataz. I have been a member of the ADAP Working Group which is based in Washington DC for a number of years and have watched this crisis unfold. The ADAP Working Group has been working hard in talking with Administration and Congressional leaders in trying to assure adequate funding for ADAPs. They were successful in forging the development of ADAP and the financial support needed for it to thrive, but in the last two years the committment from Federal Government officials to provide needed funding has been lacking. Recent negotiations between the pharmaceutical companies that make HIV antiretroviral medications and State ADAPs were helpful in that agreement was reached on discounts from the drug makers to the State ADAPs to help through this crisis. Your help is now needed to secure adequate funding now for ADAP from the Federal Government which has waned in the last two years. So please contact your Senators and Congressional leaders and tell them to support the Schumer Bill described below which supports more money for ADAP.
Message from Jules Levin
September 2, 2003
This week, the U.S. Senate will vote on funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and other Ryan White CARE Act programs. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will introduce an amendment to the appropriations bill which will provide major increases for HIV/AIDS care and treatment programs, including a $280 million increase for ADAP. This increase is badly needed to get ADAP out of its current fiscal crisis. Please call your two U.S. Senators this week and urge them to support this amendment!
What you can do:
Call your two U.S. Senators' DC offices immediately and no later than end of day, Thursday, September 4th. Ask to speak to the legislative aide who handles HIV and healthcare issues and deliver the following message:
"I urge Senator____________ to support and vote for Senator Schumer's amendment to increase funding for the Ryan White CARE Act. This amendment will provide badly needed increases for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and other vital HIV/AIDS programs."
Contact information:
You can call your Senators toll-free by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 1-800-648-3516. You'll need to know the names of your Senators and ask to be transferred. Don't know who your Senators? Go to www.vote-smart.org > for help.
This week, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Fiscal Year 2004 Labor-Health and Human Services (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill. Included in this bill is funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides access to treatment for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS who are uninsured or lack adequate prescription drug coverage. It is a lifeline for thousands of people nationwide who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford treatment. The bill also includes funding for other vital primary healthcare and support services provided in the Ryan White CARE Act.
ADAP is currently facing a fiscal crisis, with many states implementing restrictions to treatment access, including waiting lists. It was recently reported that three HIV positive people in West Virginia died while on the ADAP waiting list. It has been estimated that 1200 HIV positive individuals will be on ADAP waiting lists by the end of the year.
AIDS policy experts have determined that a $283 million increase is needed to alleviate the current fiscal crisis. This includes the current $145 million shortfall in the program and a $138 million increase for the next fiscal year (October 1, 2003-September 30, 2004).
So far, the news coming out of Congress is grim. The House of Representatives passed its version of the appropriations bill with only a $39 million increase for ADAP. The Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended only a $25 million increase. The news is even worse for other Ryan White CARE Act programs, which have been flat-funded (or in some cases given small decreases).
The Senate vote this week offers a chance to improve these dismal funding increases. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will introduce an amendment that will provide major increases for all programs in the Ryan White CARE Act, including a $280 million for ADAP. This amendment must have bipartisan support if it is going to pass. Please urge both your Senators to support this amendment. Lives depend on it.
For more information:
The Save ADAP Committee is a Working Group of the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), a national coalition of AIDS treatment activists and policy advocates. Working in conjunction with ADAP clients and service providers on the grassroots level, Save ADAP aims to ensure adequate funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. If you would like to join Save ADAP, please send n e-mail to Ryan Clary at rclary@projectinform.org. For more information about ATAC, go to www.atac-usa.org.
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