Stricter Eligibility Requirements for ADAP Coverage in Texas ‘Does Not Add Up,’ Editorial Says
Although the proposed eligibility restriction for the Texas HIV Medication Program, the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, would cut 2,500 beneficiaries and help balance the program's $30 million shortfall, the savings would "pale by comparison to what taxpayers will spend to feed, clothe, house and provide medical care for those people as welfare recipients," an Austin American-Statesman editorial states. The program currently allows approximately 12,500 low-income, HIV-positive Texans to buy the prescription drugs necessary for them "to keep functioning" at a greatly reduced cost, but a change in eligibility -- lowering the annual income threshold from $26,000 to $12,400 for an individual -- would mean more beneficiaries would "turn up on welfare rolls or in emergency rooms," the editorial says. While health officials say they have "little choice but to recommend the cuts to the program to keep it solvent," it is a "myopic approach that doesn't add up," according to the American-Statesman. It is "unwise to balance the budget without concern for the future," the editorial concludes, adding, "A broader initiative that involves other state agencies, fiscal policymakers at the Legislature and federal officials -- federal dollars make up 80% of the funding for the AIDS drug program -- is required. Together, those entities surely can find a solution that adds up" (Austin American-Statesman, 12/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.