May 15, 2003
State health officials said ADAP is critical because it helps people who have no other means to pay for medication that can cost $8,000-$15,000 a year. Many of the 780 people enrolled in the program statewide work, but they do not make enough to pay for the drugs or private insurance. "If I wasn't on the program, there would be no way I could afford the medicine," said Donna Dias of Scottsdale, who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1993.
As lawmakers grapple with a projected $1 billion deficit, ADAP is one of many health care programs targeted for reductions. "Our hands are tied," said Rep. Russell Pearce (R-Mesa), chair of the House Appropriations Committee. "There's only so much money we can control."
Health department officials, however, say that cutting ADAP will ultimately provide little savings to the state. Without adequate state funding, Arizona risks losing federal money and incurring other costs for patient care. "The bottom line is saving $500,000 is going to come out someplace else because those patients are going to get sick because they can't get the drugs," said Rose Conner, assistant director for public health services at DHS.
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