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Repealing the Affordable Health Care Act Means Woes for People With HIV

January 18, 2011

Repealing health care will hurt progress with HIV/AIDS. Photo: pubrecord.org.

Repealing health care will hurt progress with HIV/AIDS. Photo: pubrecord.org.

Today the House Leadership of the 112th Congress will consider repealing the Affordable Health Care Act that passed last year. President Obama, key democrats, and health care advocates worked hard to get that act passed. Local AIDS service organizations had their issues with selected parts of the bill in the past but it was a good place to begin. Now the Republican dominated House wants to repeal the act. According to the News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 60 million or 1 in 5 Americans have no health insurance. The Act, as it stands now, will provide coverage to an 32 million uninsured Americans and strengthen the Medicare program. For people with HIV/AIDS, it will mean much more.

Repealing the act would mean:

  • No expansion of Medicaid which would assist people with HIV/AIDS with life-saving healthcare
  • No added provisions such as high-risk pools and insurance exchanges. Those who have no coverage or have been previously denied coverage (perhaps because of a pre-existing condition) may be continuously denied and will not be able to comparison shop for private health-insurance plans.
  • The Medicare Part D drug benefit coverage gap (otherwise known as the donut hole) stays put. People living with HIV/AIDS will not be able to depend on state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) to help cover the cost of prescription drugs.

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Repealing this law allows insurance companies to discriminate against people freely including those who have HIV or AIDS. The people who would be most affected are the poor and disadvantaged in our country. If they have to struggle to pay medical bills and get prescriptions, the cycle of poverty will more than likely continue. Why should you care? Taxes will stay high to cover what they cannot cover on their own and ultimately no one wins.

Ready to lend a hand? Local advocacy groups such as National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families, and National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) urge people to call their Congressman and tell him or her to oppose this repeal. Visit www.whoismyrepresentative.com to find out and email your House representative. You can also call the main Congressional switchboard which can transfer you to their offices: 1-888-876-6242.

Recommended reading: Health care reform is a good start for AIDS

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