Texas HIV Advisory Committee Asks State Health Department to Delay Budget Cuts to ADAP
The Texas HIV Medication Advisory Committee on Friday asked the state to delay budget cuts to the Texas HIV Medication Program -- the state's official AIDS Drug Assistance Program -- the Houston Chronicle reports (Ross Hughes, Houston Chronicle, 11/2). Under a state Department of Health-proposed regulation that would lower eligibility limits for the program, some 1,700 people could lose coverage of their HIV/AIDS drugs beginning in January, and another 2,500 people could lose coverage by July. Currently, the eligibility limit is 200% of the federal poverty level, or $17,720 for an individual. The proposed regulation would lower that limit to 140% of the federal poverty level, or $12,404 for an individual. In addition, the regulation would prohibit enrollees from deducting the cost of drugs from their incomes, which had allowed patients to earn more money but still qualify for the program. Health officials say that the program faces an estimated $37 million shortfall over the next three years due to increasing demand for the drugs and an overall state budget deficit (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/1). "We are horrified at the impact that this [reduction] has on HIV-infected patients in Texas, and we request that the (state health department) board delay it until the last possible moment," the Advisory Committee, which is part of the health department, stated in a motion after hearing an hour of testimony from city residents. The full board plans to meet Jan. 9 to vote on the cuts (Houston Chronicle, 11/2).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.