August 12, 2003
The California budget signed by Gov. Gray Davis on Aug. 2 did not contain a plan to impose copayments on AIDS Drug Assistance Program clients, a measure that advocates feared would have been devastating for people living with HIV/AIDS. The state ADAP program increased $27 million to $211 million without forcing those in the program to pay for a portion of their medicines. But with California facing an estimated $8 billion deficit next fiscal year, AIDS advocates remain alarmed that the copayment plan could resurface.
"The Legislature is so clearly hostile to this idea of charging ADAP clients but that could change," said Dana Van Gorder, San Francisco AIDS Foundation's state policy director. "It just depends on how bad the budget is next year."
With part of the additional ADAP funding coming from one- time sources, Van Gorder said the fight for the program will only intensify next year. "Some of that funding, particularly the drug rebate money we used, was one-time money and won't be available to us at all next year," he said. "So it is just going to be much more difficult to put funding together."
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
08.07.03; Matthew S. Bajko