Florida--with nation's third largest
HIV/AIDS caseload--has placed 3,762 HIV/AIDS patients on a waiting list
to access its AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a federal/state
program that helps provide lifesaving AIDS drugs to low-income
Americans. This accounts for more than half of the nationwide total
(7,762 people in eleven states) in need of HIV/AIDS medications on ADAP
Now, the Florida State Department of Health is considering a reduction
in the financial eligibility guidelines for ADAP from 400% of Federal
Poverty Level (FPL) to 200%.
Such a rule change may appear to save the state of Florida some money
in the short term; however, it would also cut thousands of vulnerable
Floridians off from lifesaving HIV/AIDS care and services and
ultimately lead to far higher medical costs to the state as these AIDS
patients became ill and seek more expensive emergency care at hospitals
around the state.
A single Floridian living with AIDS earning anything more than $21,780
per year would no longer qualify for any assistance. Hundreds of
Florida AIDS patients could immediately be dis-enrolled from ADAP and
other programs. These patients' drugs and drug regimens can cost
$12,000 to $15,000 per year--so these newly ineligible patients might
face drug costs that are easily more than half of their income.
Urge Governor Scott to intervene and ensure that the state of Florida
keeps its eligibility threshold at 400% of Federal Poverty Level,
preventing a potentially devastating situation for scores of Florida
AIDS patients and their families.