California Senate Committee To Hold Hearing on Proposed Enrollment Cap for State ADAP; Demonstrations Planned
The California Senate Budget Committee on Monday is scheduled to hold a hearing on a proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to cap enrollment in the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/7). The plan is outlined in the governor's fiscal year 2004-2005 budget proposal, which also includes a 2% cut in funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. ADAP -- which is funded with both state and federal funds -- provides HIV treatment to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals. Schwarzenegger's budget would cap enrollment in the program at the current 23,900 enrollees. If the cap is implemented, more than 1,400 HIV-positive people in California will not have access to antiretroviral drugs and existing enrollees would face reduced benefits (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/20). The cap is intended "to reduce the rate of growth of the program without reducing services to those already receiving them," California Department of Finance spokesperson H.D. Palmer said. According to AIDS advocates, lawmakers need to add $25 million to the program's proposed $207 million budget to avoid waiting lists and maintain the current list of available drugs, according to the Chronicle. AIDS advocates, who plan to hold demonstrations in Sacramento on Monday, said that the proposed cap will be reached by January 2005 because net enrollment is increasing at an average of 112 patients per month (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/7). "The ADAP program is a matter of life or death for people living with HIV/AIDS," Craig Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles, said, adding, "If enrollment is capped ... [s]ome will get sick and some may die" (APLA release, 3/5). Drug price increases account for about one-third of the cost increase for ADAP, according to state Office of AIDS Director Michael Montgomery (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.