Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy
Week ending: January 4, 2018
By: Sable K. Nelson & Matthew Rose
NOTE: The new Congress has arrived in DC, with historic numbers of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people. The 116th Congress began on January 3, 2019.
How The Government Shutdown Affects Health Programs
The partial federal government shutdown continues as Congress holds firm on its refusal to provide funding for the border wall. Medicare and Medicaid are fine, but the food safety component of the Food and Drug Administration and bio-threat surveillance done by the Department of Homeland Security are among the public health functions feeling the pinch. For more information, READ: https://khn.org/news/how-the-government-shutdown-affects-health-programs
Changes Proposed to Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit
On November 26, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a proposed rule to add unprecedented access restrictions to lifesaving HIV drugs under Medicare Part D that, if finalized, will jeopardize our nation’s efforts to provide treatment to Medicare beneficiaries living with HIV. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on January 25, 2019. For more Information:, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/30/2018-25945/modernizing-part-d-and-medicare-advantage-to-lower-drug-prices-and-reduce-out-of-pocket-expenses. Click here to go directly to the comment submission page.
Kaiser Health News: Medicaid Plans Cover Doctors’ Visits, Hospital Care — And Now Your GED
Emilia Ford became pregnant at 15 and, after her daughter was born, dropped out of high school. As she held down different jobs during the past decade — including housekeeping and working in a relative’s retail store — she always thought about going for her GED to show she met high school academic skills. But the Brookhaven, Pa., woman needed assistance finding tutors and paying for the set of four tests, which cost $20 each. https://khn.org/news/medicaid-plans-cover-doctors-visits-hospital-care-and-now-your-ged/
Florida Rejects Ruling on HIV-AIDS Care Contracts
Outgoing Gov. Rick Scott’s administration has rejected an administrative law judge’s recommendation that the state should rebid Medicaid managed-care contracts in Southeast Florida for the treatment of people with HIV and AIDS. Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Justin Senior late last month issued a final order in a long-running dispute between the state and Positive Healthcare, a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Positive Healthcare filed a legal challenge after the agency awarded Medicaid contracts to a competitor, Simply Healthcare Plans. Administrative Law Judge John Newton issued a recommended order in favor of Positive Healthcare, but, under state administrative law, the issue had to go back to the Agency for Health Administration for a final order. For more information, READ → https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/fl-ne-nsf-medicaid-contracts-hiv-aids-20190104-story.html
They tested positive for HIV. Then the military kicked them out.
Testing positive for HIV was difficult enough. Getting forced out of the military by the Air Force because of the diagnosis proved even harder.So say two U.S. airmen who filed suit on Wednesday against Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, arguing that the Pentagon’s decision last month to discharge them from the military owing to their HIV status violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause and federal law. Read_→https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/they-tested-positive-for-hiv-then-the-military-kicked-them-out/
What You Can Do
TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal 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.
- Find your U.S. Senators: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- Find your U.S. Representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
What NMAC is Doing About It
- NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY19 government funding and the existence of the social safety net.
- NMAC is planning for the new year and meeting our new members of Congress. We are very excited to talk to the new House about our priorities. We spent last Thursday stopping by members offices to welcome them to the Hill.
- NMAC is working in coalition to defend the right of people living with HIV to serve in the US military.