Health advocates concerned about HIV patients under Trump regime
It’s still over a month and a half until Donald Trump takes the nation’s highest office, but peeks at his cabinet picks and his stance on healthcare are starting to worry HIV-care advocates.
PBS News Hour took the time to examine the issue in depth, specifically Trump’s possible picks for the Department of Health and Human Services: Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, and Andrew Bremberg, a former member G.W. Bush’s federal healthcare agency.
Trump, as with all future policy plans, has been light on details, but PBS reports he’s suggested alternative to the ACA like “allowing insurers to sell health plans across state lines, establishing block grants for state Medicaid programs, and allowing people to deduct their health care premiums from their federal income tax.”
But its certain Affordable healthCare Act policies, like guaranteed access to healthcare, that have helped HIV/AIDS patients get off of federal programs and gain access to more consistent treatment.
“It’s an agenda that destroys the national health safety net,” Matt Kavanaugh, a seasoned health policy activist with the Global Health Access Project, told PBS. His group campaigns for drug access for people with HIV across the globe. “We have a lot of people with HIV who depend on these programs.”
Price’s anti-LGBTQ past has people worried as well. In 2013 he went on conservative pastor Rick Scarborough’s radio show here he said “the consequences of activity that has been seen as outside the norm are real and must be explored completely and in their entirety prior to moving forward with any social legislation that would alter things.”
Kavanaugh is worried the dismantling of the ACA could break down guaranteed access and could force HIV/AIDS patients to return to the less efficient federal AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) which was created under George W. Bush.
“One of the most important things that happened with Medicaid expansion is that people were able to move off of ADAP and not just get HIV drugs but full [health] insurance,” Kavanaugh said. “If that rolls back, it’s likely we will see huge problems with ADAP.”
The disinterest in HIV/AIDS treatment could and has lead to the spread of the illness. VP Mike Pence saw this first hand while Governor of Indiana. He cut funding to health clinics leading to 200 new cases of HIV in one county, the worst in the state’s history.
Then there’s the rest of the GOP’s anti-LGBTQ platform. Everything from support for conversion therapy to teaching traditional marriage in schools. Then there’s the support for a national “religious freedom” bill which would allow businesses, like doctors offices, to refuse treatment if it went agianst their deeply held religious beliefs.
“You’re going to see increasing numbers of people with challenges,” Kavanaugh told PBS. “It’s going to be a test of our solidarity.”
Trump takes office 1/20/17 – GayRVA will continue to cover this issue as it expands.
Trump Administration has ‘Corrected’ 2020 Census form by removing proposed inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity
“The Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey report released today inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix”March 31, 2017
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