California Governor’s Revised State Budget Includes $1.3 Million Increase in ADAP Funding Over Original Proposal
California Gov. Gray Davis' (D) revised budget for fiscal year 2002-2003, released on Tuesday, includes an additional $1.3 million increase in funding for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program to assist with a higher caseload in the Diagnostic Assay Program, which provides reimbursements to those who could otherwise not afford tests that help doctors and patients make treatment decisions ( Governor's May Budget Revision, 5/14). Davis' January budget proposal included a $22.4 million increase for the program. Advocates had been concerned about funding revisions as Davis attempted to make up a $23.6 billion state revenue shortfall (Davis release, 5/14). The additional increase now brings total ADAP proposed funding for FY 2002-2003 to $190.5 million. "The governor's decision to protect the ADAP is not only a compassionate decision, but a sound, wise decision that will save the state money in the long run" by keeping people healthy and "off the Medi-Cal program and other public services that will increase costs to the state," Tom Peterson, co-chair of the Southern California HIV Advocacy Coalition, said (Southern California HIV Advocacy Coalition release, 5/14). Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, added, "With so much pain in these cuts to so many Californians, we appreciate the wisdom and courage the governor showed today in protecting the lifeline to AIDS medications" (AIDS Healthcare Foundation release, 5/14).
Leadership on HIV/AIDS Issues Needed in California
In related news, AIDS Project Los Angeles on Tuesday released a report on the state of HIV/AIDS in California and called for greater efforts on the state level. According to the report, titled "Beyond Complacency: A Call for Renewed Leadership in the Third Decade of AIDS," Californians "can no longer rely on the administration in Washington to 'fund critical HIV services -- in particular prevention programs -- that will enable the state to stay ahead of the curve.'" The report's release was timed to coincide with the unveiling of Davis' revised budget. Politicians at all levels of government may be "tempted to cut back on AIDS funding" because of the poor economy, the war on terrorism and "burgeoning" budget deficits, but "Gov. Davis' May budget revision shows that he gets the message," Daniel Montoya, director of APLA's government affairs division, said (APLA release, 5/14).