We’re beginning to think we’re trapped in the movie Groundhog Day.
Week after week, the waiting list numbers hover just over 9,000. Week after week, Congress doesn’t – and can’t – act. Week after week, Florida alone accounts for nearly half the waiting list numbers, and Florida doesn’t act.
Assuming an annual medications cost of $15,000 per ADAP recipient per year, $135 million a year in new ADAP funds would be enough to make this national disgrace go away. That’s less than four one-thousandths of a percent of the federal budget. If the will were there, the money could be found.
$60 million would do the job in Florida – not very much, even in Florida’s $70 billion state budget. But Florida doesn’t even seem to be spending the money already available effectively. Just before Labor Day, the Orlando Sentinel reported health officials for Orlando County and three neighboring central Florida counties had underspent their Ryan White funds by a half-million dollars – about six percent of the total $9 million, which suggests a certain lack of commitment to serving the people Ryan White funds are meant to help. And it’s a pity the unused funds couldn’t have been put to other uses, instead of just being help for possible use next year. They could have paid for drugs for more than thirty central Floridians currently on the ADAP waiting list.
Here are the latest waiting list numbers from our friends at NASTAD: