Press Room

January 14, 2005

Category: HIV & AIDS

HRC Praises D.C. for Medicaid Expansion for People Living with HIV

'No state should have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to provide health care to HIV-positive individuals,' said HRC's Winnie Stachelberg.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign welcomed the announcement that HIV-positive District of Columbia residents will have expanded access to care and treatment through Medicaid beginning today. Without the use of waivers, current federal law precludes states from using Medicaid funds for the treatment and care of HIV-positive individuals who have not yet developed AIDS, seriously undermining the health of HIV-positive people.

"No state should have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to provide health care to HIV-positive individuals," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. "We urge Congress to pass the Early Treatment for HIV Act to end restrictions on the use of Medicaid funding for HIV-positive individuals. Restrictions on state funding perilously limit the ability to prevent the onset of AIDS."

The innovative expansion secured by the District of Columbia will permit Medicaid funding to be used for primary and preventive care for low-income, HIV-positive district residents.

"We also praise the work of the D.C. Primary Care Association and the D.C. Department of Health for their work to secure the health of people living with HIV," Stachelberg added.
"As the Treatment Access Expansion Project and a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study show, providing critical health care services to individuals with HIV makes sound sense for humanitarian, public health and fiscal reasons."

According to the study, if enacted, over a 10-year period ETHA would:

ᄡReduce the death rate for persons living with HIV on Medicaid by 50 percent

ᄡSlow disease progression and improve health outcomes, with 35,000 more individuals with CD4 counts above 500 under ETHA than under baseline Medicaid and,

ᄡDecrease federal Medicaid spending by nearly $32 million.