From The National Association Of People With AIDS:
It’s just over two years now since we first reported the ADAP funding crisis. We thought it would be over quickly. Sad to say, we were wrong. The number of ADAP-qualifying lower-income Americans on waiting lists for the HIV drugs that would keep them healthy peaked last year at more than nine thousand before coming down to this May 31’s 2,357.
More than 90% of those now wait-listed are in five Southern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. All five have legitimate state budget shortfalls. All five, however, also have increasingly serious rural HIV epidemics, and extending immediate ADAP drug assistance to everyone who qualifies would be a useful step towards slowing the spread of the virus. The additional cost to the states would be trivial in the context of their whole state budgets – eliminating state ADAP contributions altogether would not materially improve their fiscal situations, and doubling them would not make them materially worse.
Here are the latest numbers from our friends at NASTAD:
President Obama called for the end of AIDS on World AIDS Day. But achieving that in America requires more public sector funding than Congress has provided to date, and the political climate for more funding is brutal.
We could make a classic business Republican argument for more funds: the increases would be trivial in the context of a $3.5 trillion federal budget, and the rate of return on investment would be as high as it gets – reduced public sector health care costs in future years, and improved private sector productivity. It cost next to nothing (in context) this year, and it pays back big for years to come.
With recent additional federal money, ADAP waiting list numbers have come down some over the past month, but more than 4,000 Americans are still on wait lists. Ninety percent of them are in four Southern states, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia. All four are having financial difficulties in this economy, but the millions of dollars they would have to spend to eliminate their waiting lists are insignificant in multibillion dollar budgets, and spending the millions or not will not make their difficult positions materially any worse or any better.