220 AIDS Groups Urge Senate To Increase Funding for State Medicaid Programs in Tax Bill
Two hundred and twenty AIDS groups yesterday signed an emergency letter to the Senate urging lawmakers to support an increase in federal funding for state Medicaid programs, which are the largest providers of HIV/AIDS care in the country, according to a Federal Medicaid Defense Group release. The Senate has taken up the issue as part of today's debate over the new tax bill. Senate Finance Committee Chair Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) last week agreed to include $20 billion in new funding for state governments, which could be applied towards federal support for state Medicaid programs (Federal Medicaid Defense Group release, 5/14). Senate leaders yesterday agreed to dedicate $10 billion of that amount toward Medicaid (Firestone, New York Times, 5/15). The letter says, "As providers and consumers of services to persons living with HIV/AIDS, we know the Medicaid program is vital to the health and well-being of thousands of men, women and children living with HIV ... who rely on the Medicaid program for their health care," adding, "An infusion of federal dollars into [Medicaid programs] would greatly assist states in their efforts to continue to offer medically necessary services to the low-income seniors, pregnant women, children and persons with disabilities that depend upon Medicaid for their health care. For many of its beneficiaries, including people with HIV/AIDS, Medicaid serves as nothing less than a lifeline." The letter concludes, "You can preserve the health care safety net by voting to stabilize state Medicaid programs." The letter, which is signed by AIDS advocacy groups from all over the United States, is a project of the Federal Medicaid Defense Group, an ad-hoc joint effort by local, state and national HIV/AIDS organizations (Letter text, 5/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.