05 Jan HIV Medical Professionals Urge Congress to Do No Harm
January 5, 2017 – Washington, D.C. – More than 950 HIV medical professionals sent a letter today urging Congressional members not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without establishing a viable replacement plan that will continue to offer affordable coverage to those eligible under the ACA, and to sustain the federal commitment to the Medicaid program. Prior to the enactment of the ACA, many individuals living with HIV were denied health insurance coverage because of their pre-existing condition or were charged extraordinary premiums that left coverage out of reach. In most states, prior to the ACA, low-income patients with HIV were denied Medicaid coverage until they became sick and disabled, and did not have the resources to participate in health savings accounts.
With reliable access to health care and the antiretroviral therapy that effectively suppresses the virus, individuals with HIV can stay healthy and live near normal life expectancies. When they are healthy and virally suppressed their risk of transmitting the virus drops to near zero. Access to antiretroviral therapy not only improves an individual’s health but also the health of the community and is a critical tool to help stop the ongoing HIV epidemic.
The physicians, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurses – from advanced practice nurses to assistants — and other medical professionals signing the letter released today work on the frontlines of the HIV epidemic and are members of the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM), Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) and the Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition (RWMPC).
HIVMA, AAHIVM, ANAC, RWMPC urge Congress to consider the needs of individuals with HIV and the millions of others whose health care may be at risk before taking action that will undermine the significant progress made in expanding access to health insurance coverage over the last several years. The lives of individuals with HIV and our nation’s public health depend on it.