Massachusetts Legislature Should Approve Additional ADAP Funding, Editorial Says
The Massachusetts Legislature should approve additional funding for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program to avoid putting patients on waiting lists, a Boston Globe editorial says (Boston Globe, 6/13). Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner Christine Ferguson last month sent a letter to the state Legislature requesting an additional $4.2 million for the program to avoid a projected $6.6 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1. ADAPs -- which are funded with both state and federal money -- provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/14). According to the most recent "ADAP Watch" from the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, 11 states as of this month have implemented waiting lists or access restrictions on their ADAPs; another 10 states are anticipating new or additional restrictions during FY 2004, which ends March 31, 2005 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/8). Massachusetts has helped lower its AIDS-related death rate and kept patients out of "expensive" hospitals and emergency departments through "pioneer[ing]" programs that provide patients' drug copayments and insurance premiums as a "cheaper alternative" to "purchasing drugs outright," the Globe says. Providing such drugs keeps patients in good health, and "treated patients are less likely to infect others," the editorial says. Therefore, the Legislature should approve broader eligibility levels for HIV-positive Medicaid beneficiaries as well as $31.5 million in AIDS funding, the editorial says. The Legislature also should approve additional funding as part of a planned supplemental budget -- a move that Gov. Mitt Romney (R) would support -- according to the Globe. The editorial concludes that making HIV-positive people wait for "life-giving drugs would be unconscionable" (Boston Globe, 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.