Policy Lead from Partnership of the Nation’s Leading HIV, STD, and Hepatitis Organizations Appointed Co-Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA)

Partner Logos - AIDS United, NASTAD, NCSD, NMAC, The AIDS Institute

Washington, D.C. – We applaud Secretary of the Department of Health Human Services Alex Azar’s announcement of new members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) and the naming of Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director of The AIDS Institute, as a co-chair. Mr. Schmid is one of the key policy leads for the HIV, STD, & Hepatitis Policy Partnership, a coalition of five of the nation’s leading organizations focused on ending the HIV, STD, and viral hepatitis epidemics in the United States.

The Partnership is the driving force behind a new policy paper that lays out a clear roadmap for federal action to end HIV and the intersecting epidemics of STDs, hepatitis, and opioids in the United States. The paper is an essential framework for guiding PACHA’s work and meeting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

Secretary Azar made the announcement in a speech at the 2018 National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care and Treatment where he laid out a vision that the U.S. become a nation “where the spread of HIV/AIDS has been effectively halted, because every American with HIV/AIDS is receiving treatment and every American at risk of HIV is engaged in the right prevention strategy.”

In the past, PACHA was an invaluable body that provided a voice for the community to share advice, information, and recommendations with the Administration regarding the nation’s HIV-related programs, policies, and research. Mr. Schmid has been a leader in ensuring domestic HIV programs are fully funded and based on sound public policy for nearly two decades. He is a trusted expert in health care financing systems and is actively engaged in efforts to ensure that the Affordable Care Act meets the needs of people living with or at risk of HIV and hepatitis.

HIV is not a partisan issue and continues to be a public health threat that must have the right leadership and resources necessary to end new infections and ensure access to quality prevention and treatment for everyone who needs it.

The reconvening of PACHA and Mr. Schmid’s appointment represent an important step in ensuring our progress to end HIV and the intersecting epidemics of STDs, hepatitis, and opioids continues. We look forward to continuing to work closely with PACHA and the Administration, and wish Mr. Schmid well in his new role. Mr. Schmid will co-chair PACHA with Washington State Secretary of Health Dr. John Wiesman.

The next PACHA meeting is March 14-15, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

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AIDS United (AU), NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), NMAC, and The AIDS Institute (TAI) are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations focused on ending the HIV, STD, and hepatitis epidemics in the United States by sharing resources to advocate for HIV, STD, and hepatitis programs and appropriations.

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: Nov. 9, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

NOTE: The U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives returned from recess on Nov. 13th.

Key Take Healthcare Related Takeaways from the 2018 Midterms
Health Care Was the Most Important Issue to Voters, Fueling a Democratic Majority in the House of Representatives

According to national exit polls, voters said health care was the most important issue by a two-to-one margin compared to the second most important issue, immigration, 41 percent to 23 percent, and Democrats won those voters 77 percent to 22 percent. Among the competitive GOP-held districts, Democrats had an 8 point advantage on health care, 52 to 44 percent. When it comes specifically to protecting people with pre-existing conditions, voters preferred Democrats over Republicans by a 24-point margin , 58 percent to 34 percent.

While most of us were focused on selecting elected officials, voters across the country also weighed in on several ballot initiatives in many states that will impact healthcare (including Medicaid expansion). For more information about what happened, please and how it may impact you, READ → https://www.salon.com/2018/11/10/midterm-results-show-health-is-important-to-voters-but-no-magic-bullet_partner/

The Trump-Pence Administration Finalized Dangerous and Unlawful Birth Control Rules Just One Day After the Mid-Term Elections

The day after the mid-term elections, the Trump-Pence Administration ramped up its assault on women’s health. In addition to attacking insurance coverage of abortion and the Title X family planning program, the Administration finalized two rules that would gut the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, which requires health plans to cover all FDA-approved birth control methods for women without out-of-pocket cost. If the final rules go into effect as the Trump-Pence Administration would like them to on January 14, 2019, they will allow virtually any employer or university claiming a religious or moral exemption to deny insurance coverage of birth control to their employees and students. NWLC is suing the Trump-Pence Administration and supporting legal challenges by several states to stop these dangerous rules from going into effect.
READ → https://nwlc.org/blog/the-trump-pence-administration-finalized-dangerous-and-unlawful-birth-control-rules-just-one-day-after-the-mid-term-elections/

LISTEN: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Split Decision On Health Care

In the latest episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Joanne Kenen of Politico discuss the Trump administration’s new birth control coverage rules and the potential impact of the midterm election results on health policy. For more information, READ → https://khn.org/news/podcast-khns-what-the-health-split-decision-on-health-care/

Understanding the Various Healthcare Proposals (such as Medicare-For-All and Single-Payer?)

As politicians across the country toss about such health care catchphrases, sometimes interchangeably, many voters say they’re “just confused.” As we prepare for a new Congress, please take a moment to understand the various healthcare proposals. For more information → https://khn.org/news/quick-whats-the-difference-between-medicare-for-all-and-single-payer/

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care. Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet to your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines. Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC is beginning to meet with the new congress to make sure HIV remains front and center
  • Working on national Ending the Epidemic plans and implementation
  • Engaging with the CDC about molecular surveillance

Being an HIV 50+ Scholar at USCA – Part Four

We asked several of the 50+ Strong and Healthy Community Scholars to share their USCA experience with us. This week, we have Robert Riester.

This was the third USCA to host 50+ Strong & Healthy Scholars and the first year to host Transgender and Youth Scholarship programs. These three programs are a direct result of inclusion for voices that have not been heard. The USCA conference has historically been a venue for the voiceless. Produced by the National Minority AIDS Coalition or NMAC and its very colorful and animated executive director Paul Kawata of National Association of People with AIDS or NAPWA fame, the USCA conference is never boring.

The opening plenary luncheon: Activism and The Intersection of Movements Fighting for Social Justice aptly featured none other than Larry Kramer of ACT UP and The Normal Heart fame via video due to his poor health. It was clearly a struggle for him to read from his own script, but it was obvious that his pen and his mind were still very strong. The other speakers were equally passionate for the times we live in now, featuring: Naina Khanna-Executive Director, Positive Women’s Network; Abigail Echo-Hawk-Director of Urban Indian Health Institute; Alicia Gara-Co-Founder of #BlackLivesMatter; Havid Hogg-Activist and Survivor of Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School mass shooting; and Richard Zaldivar-Founder of The Wall Las Memorias Project. The themes of racism, gun violence, health access and equity were beautifully balanced with a tribute to Sylvester by Disco Diva, Thelma Houston and here signature song ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, summed up the message perfectly.

Being one of the 50+ Strong & Healthy Scholar alums, my session attendance was focused on HIV & Aging. The first session was introduced by NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata and Moises Agosto with a discussion about the importance of the Mini-Grant program, possible future Sponsorship of a Conference on Aging, and Internships. I learned something new at every session I attended, as I always do. I also reunited with some old ‘NMAC Family’ friends and made some new ones.
The Saturday plenary session: Trauma Informed Care with a focus on HIV & Aging was produced by and with 50+ Strong & Healthy alums. ‘The Survivor Monologues’ focused on five emotions that come with long-term survival: Uncertainty/Fear; Anger/Action; Emotional Rollercoaster; Hope, and Resilience. According to many accounts, it was one of the most powerful plenary session segments ever done at USCA. It left the attendees who were all proudly standing in ovation, with a feeling of inspiration and empowerment. Thank you, NMAC!

Robert Riester

Being an HIV 50+ Scholar at USCA 2018 – Part Three

We asked several of the 50+ Strong and Healthy Community Scholars to share their USCA experience with us. This week, we have Steven Manning.

Steven ManningMy experience with the 2018 USCA: First impression was the immediate connection I felt with recipients of the 50+ scholarships. The staff was amazing, they made themselves available to us, they guided us through the workshops, and they answered all of our questions. They went above and beyond my expectations.

As a result of this conference, friendships were made. We were able to share our own stories of living with HIV and exchange ideas and concerns. It was an honor to be a part of the 50 + scholars. We are a group of the HIV population that up until recently got overlooked. We are living longer and our needs are changing. Having workshops focused on this is really important. It was really beneficial not only to have these types of workshops, but to actually have the 50+ group. We were able to have our voices heard and to share our own personal experiences. This made the experience so much better. We have a story to tell and people are listening to us.

The workshops were geared towards the HIV aging population. NMAC recognized this and not only helped educate the HIV populations attending the conference, but, at the same time were able to educate the medical providers, case managers, and healthcare workers. We were given the tools to go back to our individual communities to help educate them about ongoing issues with the HIV aging population. The workshops brought much needed attention to people isolating and the need to reach out to them and the seriousness to this ongoing issue. There are so many important issues that need attention. Recognition was brought to the aging transgender population as well.

NMAC understands the needs of the community; they have made it their goal to do something about them. This was seen throughout the entire conference. This conference has and will allow me to take what I have learned and share it with my peers in the HIV community and outside of the HIV community.

I want to personally thank the staff and board members of NMAC for all of their hard work and dedication that made this conference possible. This USCA provides a safe space to connect, educate, and take this information out into our individual communities. NMAC understands the important issues, and makes it their mission to bring attention to it.

To summarize I felt very fortunate to attend this year’s conference. It was an experience that will last for a very long time.

Being an HIV 50+ Scholar at USCA 2018 – Part Two

We asked several of the 50+ Strong and Healthy Community Scholars to share their USCA experience with us. This week, we have Miguel Ángel Delgado Ramos of Puerto Rico.

The fact that I was granted a scholarship to participate in the United States Conference on AIDS, and participate in the educational experience for HIV-positive people over 50, meant an important recognition to me as a 64-year-old homosexual man living with HIV for 29 years. It was an honor that I was granted because of the number of people who applied for the scholarship. I accepted the same with great joy, as this is the most important conference for us HIV-positive people, and also with great responsibility. From the moment I submitted the scholarship application, I knew that my commitment to the community would be stronger.

Already, from that moment I began to think about what my response would be once I returned to Puerto Rico, although there were still many weeks left for the conference. My community response due to my participation in USCA was strengthened every day, due to the warmth received from the High Quality Work Team led by Moisés, who monitored me day by day and did not neglect any details. Thank you, Blessings. The program offered for HIV-positive people over 50 was very complete, varied, entertaining, and educational, and selected topics were relevant and emotional. The group was manageable and the presenters were professional.

This experience of USCA 2018? It was the Conference of Conferences: Every detail thought, every need satisfied, The Plenaries unsurpassed. It was extraordinary.

What it Means: Overcoming fears of the language when facing a small group that required my active participation in each moment; Sharing my experience as a positive man over 50; To be moved to tears by shared experiences; I laughed a lot for the curiosities of the and the scholars; I brought a wealth of information, knowledge and experience that I am eager to share in Puerto Rico; the interaction with Paul Kawata. Also, this USCA strengthened my commitment to join the voices that promote the improvement of the quality of life of HIV-positive people in Puerto Rico.

“I Live In the Basement”

By NMAC Conferences Coordinator Aryah Lester

Aryah LesterI live in the basement: the lowest floor of the social systems we have here in America. Above me live the middle-class: not concerned with the trials of the lower class; the privileged: living in a bubble of supremacy; and the blessed: ignorant of truly fighting for acceptance into humanity. Proud and jubilant footsteps drum upon my ceiling from the house parties of the heterosexual, the men, those not of color, and even the LGB crowd. You see, I am a transgender woman of color, and my lot in life has been to continue striving towards access above the basement of this country: to fight not only for myself, but for my sisters trapped with me.

In my 36 years of life, I had first learnt about the perceived differences in skin color, notwithstanding our commonality or upbringing. A youth attending middle school in the rural south, I experienced statements like: ‘Nigger, get off my property’ (italicized with a shotgun). I empathized with my father when he was refused well-deserved promotions because he was of color, and my mother (of many talents) who took care of her household with jobs such as housekeeper and home health aide.

Our school cafeterias had an invisible yet distinct line, across which you saw white faces on one side, and all those darker on the other. I first realized there was a floor above me. As someone who was always feminine, I quickly then learned the demeaning micro- (and outright violent) aggressions against women or femininity in our male-dominated society. I had begun to hate the parts of me which exuded the power of women: my butt, my lips, my voice, and my lack of body hair. Women all around me were delegated to the floor below in their homes, at their jobs, and in the public. Women in our history books were often just sidekicks of ‘greater’ heroes, who all happened to be male. Even the Christianity I was taught regarded the creation of the female body as a ‘complement to’ the man.

When I started transitioning in the year of 1998 and entered my life as a transgender person, the basement door became sealed. I found myself pounding on the door for employment, searching for the keys to a healthy relationship, and trying to break the windows of public opposition. Time and time again I was teased, or straight out denied access to the life we all deserve: simple, quiet. It was at that time I started to be educated in HIV/AIDS, from an organization I volunteered at: the New York Peer AIDS Coalition. I discovered the increased risk I faced in just being me, a transgender woman of color. I started educating my peers in easy ways, through distribution of condoms and lube to my fellow party-goers and streetwalkers. My path had begun. I remained, however, in the basement.

I literally resided three floors below the tragic site of my infection. Even now I can picture and smell the scene, which encapsulated my lifelong residence of the American basement. I was staying (unofficially) with a close friend in the south of Miami-Dade county, after losing my apartment and finding myself chronically unemployed. Getting up one day in November of 2013 from the couch I slept upon,  I went downstairs to the store. Returning to the building, I entered with a handsome young man who sparked a conversation with me, and then invited me upstairs to continue to talk. I saw no harm in the invitation, especially with the security of the development vetting his presence. I followed him to the upper floors.

Once entering the door, I immediately knew the situation was not what I could have imagined. The apartment was one which was empty and abandoned, and smelt of secret parties, urine, and excrement. With his body pressing me against the wall and my body on the floor in quick succession, I could only think of my stay in the basement. ‘I could scream.’ ‘My friend might be blamed.’ ‘I might be kicked out, not being on the lease.’ ‘Who’s going to believe me?’ ‘Just take it, you’ve been raped plenty of times before.’ When he finished and was in the lethargic state of ‘after-sex’, I rose my bloodied and hurt body and quickly headed out, with not a word to anyone about the situation which occurred.

A couple of months went by and I found myself in the hospital from common yet severe symptoms without a source. A few weeks later, I found myself training counselors for HIV testing due to my years experience working in the field. Using myself as a test subject, I noticed the shockingly reactive test result. I grabbed my friend and we tested myself again, proceeding to complete an anonymous confirmatory test for the laboratory. I already knew my recent encounter infected me; I knew my mind trapped in the basement allowed it to happen with no consequence.

It did not matter to my advocacy because people already assumed I was HIV-positive because of my dedicated work in preventing HIV/AIDS in our communities for years. It did matter to my psyche, it mattered to my pride, and it mattered to my future. Most importantly, it mattered to my resolve: to help my sisters get their minds out of the figurative basement, and to see their worth. The worth of their bodies. The worth of their femininity. The worth of their color. Their worth. My worth.

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: Oct. 5, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

NOTE: The U.S. House of Representatives is out on recess until Nov. 13 (after the 2018 mid-term elections). The U.S. Senate is still in session this week.

Positive Women’s Network Hosts Webinar on Public Charge Impact on PLWH

On October 03, 2018 the Positive Women’s Network USA hosted a webinar entitled “Public Charge: What Does It Mean for the HIV Community?” Throughout history, people have moved to make better lives for themselves and their children. Trump’s “public charge” rule change, will reduce our neighbors, who want the same things for their families that we all want–health, safety, dignity, economic security–to a calculation of what is in their pockets when they arrive and the cost of any pre-existing health conditions they may have. The invaluable contributions of immigrants to their communities, families, and our nation will be ignored and discarded. To view the slide deck, click here: https://www.pwn-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Webinar-Slides-Public-Charge-and-HIV.pdf

 

Changes In SAMHSA Leadership

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that the director of its mental health center, Paolo del Vecchio, is being reassigned. Paolo del Vecchio, who has led the agency’s mental health center since 2012, has been tapped to run its Office of Management, Technology, and Operations. HIV is inextricably linked to mental health. Moreover, SAMHSA plays an important role in HIV prevention and treatment in communities of color. SAMHSA received $116.0 m for its Minority AIDS Initiative programming in FY18. The program has been flat-funded and will receive the same amount in FY19. For more information, READ: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-ehealth/2018/10/05/search-for-vha-head-gets-serious-363423 (please see: LEADERSHIP SHUFFLE AT SAMHSA)

 

Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Some Things Old, Some Things New

In this episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner discuss final action on bills in Congress to address the opioid epidemic and fund federal health agencies. They also look at new efforts by the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on teen nicotine use. For more information, LISTEN: https://khn.org/news/podcast-khns-what-the-health-some-things-old-some-things-new/

 

U.S. SENATOR TAMMY BALDWIN FILES DISCHARGE PETITION TO FORCE SENATE VOTE ON OVERTURNING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S EXPANSION OF JUNK INSURANCE PLANS

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin filed a discharge petition that will force a Senate vote on her resolution to overturn the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans that can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and don’t have to provide essential health services like prescription drugs, emergency room visits and maternity care.
Senator Baldwin’s effort is supported by more than 20 of the nation’s top health care organizations including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American Heart Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, WomenHeart, National Women’s Law Center, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association, Residential Eating Disorders Consortium, Protect Our Care, Families USA, AIDS United, Association for Community Affiliated Plans, Mental Health America and the Little Lobbyists.

The signed discharge petition is available here.

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care.  Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines.  Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

Also, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE in time for the general mid-term election happening this year:

General Election Voter
Registration Deadline

North Carolina

10/12/2018

Idaho

10/12/2018

New York

10/12/2018

Oklahoma

10/12/2018

Delaware

10/13/2018

Virginia

10/15/2018

West Virginia

10/16/2018

Oregon

10/16/2018

New Jersey

10/16/2018

Maine

10/16/2018

District of Columbia

10/16/2018

Maryland

10/16/2018

Kansas

10/16/2018

Minnesota

10/16/2018

Wisconsin

10/17/2018

Massachusetts

10/17/2018

Nebraska

10/19/2018

Montana

10/19/2018

Alabama

10/22/2018

South Dakota

10/22/2018

California

10/22/2018

Wyoming

10/22/2018

New Hampshire

10/23/2018

Iowa

10/27/2018

Colorado

10/29/2018

Connecticut

10/30/2018

Vermont

11/6/2018

For more information, VISIT→ https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION(S) in your state: 11/6/18

 

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC working to supporting HIV-positive members of the military in their fight about the administration separation.
  • NMAC is working with coalition partners on working on the drafting the next round of ending the epidemic.
  • NMAC will continue to support getting out the vote efforts up to November 6 to express the importance of voting and what it can mean for the election.

 Have a policy question? E-mail us! We would like to help if we can. Mrose@nmac.org or SNelson@nmac.org

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: Sept. 28, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

Threat To The ACA Turns Up The Heat On Attorney General Races

According to recent reporting by Kaiser Health News, as Republican and Democratic attorneys general square off on a Texas case that threatens to dismantle consumer protections in the federal health law, campaigns across the country for states’ highest legal officer get hotter. For more information, READ: https://khn.org/news/threat-to-the-aca-turns-up-the-heat-on-attorney-general-races/

 

CMS Administrator Verma Stresses Work Requirements

At the 2018 Medicaid Managed Care Summit in Washington, Seema Verma, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator responded to the opposition to Medicaid work requirements by stating: “I have heard the criticism and felt the resistance, but I reject the premise and here is why: It is not compassionate to trap people on government programs or create greater dependency on public assistance as we expand programs like Medicaid.” Over 4,300 Medicaid expansion enrollees in Arkansas are losing coverage because they did not comply with the state’s work requirement mandate. According to recent reports, more than 1,000 Arkansas Works enrollees have found jobs since the program began in July. Also in her comments, Administrator Verma affirmed her support for block granting Medicaid, saying the only way the federal government can end its micromanagement of states is to move away from entitlement programs. For more information, READ: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20180927/NEWS/180929907

 

A Critical Look at the Decision of the NIH in Funding New Prevention Research

The new IRMA report “Whose Choice is it Anyway?” takes a look at the NIH’s decision to no longer fund prevention technologies that are used at time of sex and are topical. The NIH conducted an input process last year that concluded with a release of new HIV prevention research priorities that favor long acting, systemic formulations (like vaccines, implants and injectables) and negate the need for short acting, user-controlled, non-systemic approaches (like vaginal and rectal microbicides). IRMA was curious about the input that was collected—did most scientists, advocates, and other stakeholders indeed prioritize long acting, systemic formulations, showing little to no interest in other approaches like microbicides?

You can check out the slides and listen to the recording here.

Please share the report widely, and reach out directly to the folks in power at the NIH and the HPTN. They STILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO LISTEN TO US. They still have the opportunity to walk the talk, to stand by their stated commitment to listen to communities and to work with us to create HIV prevention options WE want.

 

Buyer Beware: New Cheaper Insurance Policies May Have Big Coverage Gaps

If you’re looking for cheaper health insurance, a whole host of new options will hit the market starting Tuesday. But buyer beware! If you get sick, the new plans – known as short-term, limited duration insurance — may not pay for the medical care you need. Read more:
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/10/01/652141154/buyer-beware-new-cheaper-insurance-policies-may-have-big-coverage-gaps

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care.  Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines.  Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

Also, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE in time for the general mid-term election happening this year:

General Election Voter
Registration Deadline

Utah

10/7/2018

Alaska

10/7/2018

Rhode Island

10/7/2018

Washington

10/8/2018

Texas

10/9/2018

Illinois

10/9/2018

Indiana

10/9/2018

Ohio

10/9/2018

Pennsylvania

10/9/2018

Arkansas

10/9/2018

Georgia

10/9/2018

Kentucky

10/9/2018

Mississippi

10/9/2018

New Mexico

10/9/2018

South Carolina

10/9/2018

Nevada

10/9/2018

Tennessee

10/9/2018

Michigan

10/9/2018

Hawaii

10/9/2018

Arizona

10/9/2018

Florida

10/9/2018

Missouri

10/10/2018

North Carolina

10/12/2018

Idaho

10/12/2018

New York

10/12/2018

Oklahoma

10/12/2018

Delaware

10/13/2018

Virginia

10/15/2018

West Virginia

10/16/2018

Oregon

10/16/2018

New Jersey

10/16/2018

Maine

10/16/2018

District of Columbia

10/16/2018

Maryland

10/16/2018

Kansas

10/16/2018

Minnesota

10/16/2018

Wisconsin

10/17/2018

Massachusetts

10/17/2018

Nebraska

10/19/2018

Montana

10/19/2018

Alabama

10/22/2018

South Dakota

10/22/2018

California

10/22/2018

Wyoming

10/22/2018

New Hampshire

10/23/2018

Iowa

10/27/2018

Colorado

10/29/2018

Connecticut

10/30/2018

Vermont

11/6/2018

For more information, VISIT→ https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION(S) in your state: 11/6/18

 

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC is working to provide information to federal agencies as they work on the 2020 budgets.NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY19 government funding and the existence of the social safety net.
  • NMAC released a Biomedical HIV Prevention “Blueprint” entitled Expanding Access to Biomedical HIV Prevention: Tailoring Approaches for Effectively Serving Communities of Color, a new report that establishes strategies to effectively use techniques such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Treatment as Prevention (TasP) to end the HIV epidemic in communities of color. The full report can be found by visiting www.nmac.org/blueprint.

 Have a policy question? E-mail us! We would like to help if we can. Mrose@nmac.org or SNelson@nmac.org

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: Sept. 21, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

Two House Democrats Call to Subpoena Trump Administration Regarding Medicaid Work Requirements

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), sent a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., on Thursday to request a subpoena to compel the Trump administration to turn over key documents relating to their push to implement work requirements for Medicaid. The goal is for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Leadership to compel the White House to share more information on the possible effects of its move to tie Medicaid eligibility to employment. Reps. Cummings (D-MD) and Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) assert that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) are withholding documents related to Medicaid work requirements and what it could mean for beneficiaries. Reps. Cummings (D-MD) and Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) inquiry came a week after more than 4,000 Arkansas residents lost Medicaid coverage due to work rules in the state. For more information, READ → https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/democrats-seek-to-subpoena-documents-on-medicaid-work-rulesl

 

Proposed Immigration Rule Changes Likely to Adversely Impact PLWH

The Trump administration released a proposed rule which seeks to empower the Administration to effectively impose a merit-based immigration system without an act of Congress. The proposed rule would permit the rejection of immigrants from the US if they have too little income and/or education. The intention is to impose harsher rules for determining when immigrants are likely to be considered a “public charge.” According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “‘public charge’ means an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense” (https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/public-charge). This legal determination can block an individual’s path to permanent residency (i.e., obtaining a green card). The proposed public charge test does not apply to persons seeking asylum, refugees, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) applicants, etc. According to a reporting by The Body, However, the proposed changes to the public charge rule “…would essentially operate as a de facto ban on HIV-positive individuals seeking permanent residence in the U.S. Immigrants with disabilities or pre-existing medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS would be required to show proof of unsubsidized health insurance — i.e., no Medicaid, ADAP, or Obamacare, thus creating a back door to a reinstatement of the HIV immigration ban.” (http://www.thebody.com/content/81028/public-charge-rule-devastating-hiv-immigrants.html) For more information, READ → https://abcnews.go.com/Health/things-trumps-public-charge-immigration-proposal/story?id=58064875

 

Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Health On The Hill

n this episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, and Joanne Kenen of Politico talk about a spate of health-related legislative action on Capitol Hill, including Senate passage of a bill to address the opioid epidemic. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week. For more information, LISTEN → https://khn.org/news/podcast-khn-what-the-health-september-20-2018-health-on-the-hill/?utm_campaign=KHN%20-%20Weekly%20Edition&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=66112809&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9OFJGo63PgMvJLHAgsxhXmLHSHPw-ido84UeTH8-9sN-jbMYXe3N176G684G_BEwJvxpC–5_cQ8qlVZJy4J6sohESEA&_hsmi=66112809

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care.  Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines.  Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

Also, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE in time for the general mid-term election happening this year:

General Election Voter
Registration Deadline

Utah

10/7/2018

Alaska

10/7/2018

Rhode Island

10/7/2018

Washington

10/8/2018

Texas

10/9/2018

Illinois

10/9/2018

Indiana

10/9/2018

Ohio

10/9/2018

Pennsylvania

10/9/2018

Arkansas

10/9/2018

Georgia

10/9/2018

Kentucky

10/9/2018

Mississippi

10/9/2018

New Mexico

10/9/2018

South Carolina

10/9/2018

Nevada

10/9/2018

Tennessee

10/9/2018

Michigan

10/9/2018

Hawaii

10/9/2018

Arizona

10/9/2018

Florida

10/9/2018

Missouri

10/10/2018

North Carolina

10/12/2018

Idaho

10/12/2018

New York

10/12/2018

Oklahoma

10/12/2018

Delaware

10/13/2018

Virginia

10/15/2018

West Virginia

10/16/2018

Oregon

10/16/2018

New Jersey

10/16/2018

Maine

10/16/2018

District of Columbia

10/16/2018

Maryland

10/16/2018

Kansas

10/16/2018

Minnesota

10/16/2018

Wisconsin

10/17/2018

Massachusetts

10/17/2018

Nebraska

10/19/2018

Montana

10/19/2018

Alabama

10/22/2018

South Dakota

10/22/2018

California

10/22/2018

Wyoming

10/22/2018

New Hampshire

10/23/2018

Iowa

10/27/2018

Colorado

10/29/2018

Connecticut

10/30/2018

Vermont

11/6/2018

For more information, VISIT→ https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION(S) in your state: 11/6/18

For more information, VISIT→ http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC is working to provide information to federal agencies as they work on the 2020 budgets.
  • NMAC is working in coalition to respond to the new rule on public charge issued by the administration.
  • NMAC continues to engage with coalitions to push back on the implication of work requirements on state Medicaid programs.
  • NMAC continues to do work on protecting HIV-positive service members from the new DoD separation policy.

 Have a policy question? E-mail us! We would like to help if we can. Mrose@nmac.org or SNelson@nmac.org

Puerto Rico One Year Later

By Moises Agosto, Treatment Director

Today marks one year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Recovery has been painfully slow. NMAC is proud to take part in the “Take Action for Puerto Rico” campaign. As a native Puerto Rican, this tragedy has struck me personally. Here’s how:

On September 20, 2017, Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricane María, a category 4 storm for which the island was not prepared. Previous to María another powerful storm, Hurricane Irma, brought to Puerto Rico extreme winds and rainfall, enough to leave one million people without electricity and the island vulnerable to the force of María.

These atmospheric phenomena were not the only reason for such a devastation in the aftermath of the storms. The detrimental financial situation of Puerto Rico, due to decades of fiscal mismanagement and corruption among elected officials, has had an impact on the infrastructure of the island. Therefore, when the hurricanes struck the island, what was left of infrastructure collapsed, including the outdated power grid weakened by Irma. There was no electricity for more than six months on the whole island. Still today there are jurisdictions without electricity

The people of Puerto Rico were already experiencing a sense of loss and disappointment before the storms. First, at their elected officials and second with the imposition of a Federal Fiscal Control Board to take over the finances of the “Shining Star” of the Caribbean. This federal government imposition highlighted the fact that Puerto Rico is only a territory with no political power to influence the US Congress neither the authority to receive help from foreign countries. In other word it is a colony govern by the congress of the United States of America. An at-large collective realization of the territorial status took place demoralizing Puerto Ricans on the island and mainland. Puerto Ricans were reminded that they are second class US citizens.

With all of that chaos for the average Puerto Rican, imagine what life has been like for those living with HIV. For a year now, their medical care has been, at the very best, interrupted and, at worst, nonexistent. That means their health and their lives have been endangered by this fiasco. The impacts of that lost care can’t be regained. And, unfortunately, there is still no real end in sigh for them.

The aftermath of Hurricane María changed the live of all Puerto Ricans. Puerto Ricans were not only reminded of their second class status but treated as such by the president of the United States, the US congress, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the local government of Puerto Rico. The only response worth acknowledging is the community based organizations that without many resources were able help and bring to safety thousands of Puerto Ricans in rural and urban regions.

Hurricane María was a life changing experience for those in the island and those in the US mainland. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans moved to the US mainland, among them my parents. William Agosto, 80 years old, and Carmen Eva Rosario, 78 years old. The day after the storm my nephew, siblings and I agreed that without electricity their lives were in danger. We were lucky to have friends and some resources that allowed us to move them to live with me in Maryland. They both have a number of chronic diseases that require monitoring, constant doctor visits and the 24/7 company of a healthy adult.

The life of my parents and my own changed. The Puerto Rico we know has disappeared and the one to be formed after María will be foreign to us. My parents are not ready to go back and I am not ready to let them leave because after María they are my homeland, my enchanted island.