Some patient advocates are expressing concern that the federal health reform law could unintentionally have a negative effect on services for the 190,000 Californians living with HIV or AIDS, HealthyCal reports.
Some California counties are taking steps to implement the health reform law through the Low Income Health Program, which is an optional federal program that can be established locally. LIHP is designed to expand health insurance until 2014, when more provisions of the reform law take effect.
Details of the Concerns
Some advocates have said LIHP does not provide a service like the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which gives uninsured or underinsured patients access to medications they need.
Other advocates have questioned what will happen to federal funding for the Ryan White Care Act that is set to expire in 2014 under the reform law. The Ryan White program provides services for HIV/AIDS programs for low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents.
Other points of concern include:
- An $85 million cut to the California Office of AIDS budget in fiscal year 2009-2010, which caused some prevention programs to shut down or reduce services; and
- The shift from wraparound services, such as providing housing and transportation assistance, to a focus on quantifiable efforts such as measuring results from new medicines.
Tom Mosmiller -- a program manager at the Alameda County Public Health Department's Office of AIDS Administration -- said that "we need to make sure that HIV is immediately included at the earliest stages" of health reform (Flynn, HealthyCal, 1/18).