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October 8, 2009

AIDS Leaders to Obama: Include HIV-Positive People in Health Care Reform

The head committee of the HIV Health Care Access Working Group, a coalition of national and community-based AIDS service organizations, sent a letter to President Barack Obama that highlights what they hope to see in a final health care reform bill, according to the Bay Area Reporter.

Medicaid coverage for all low-income and childless adults is one of the first requests made by the committee in the letter. At the moment, eligibility rules for Medicaid exclude most positive people from accessing it unless they become disabled. According to the committee, if Medicaid is expanded up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level, many more HIV-positive people will have access to treatment and care.

According to the article, the group also asked for a strong national public insurance option. The public option would ensure comprehensive standards for benefits and affordability nationwide, and it would cut cost.

Lastly, the letter pushes for a prevention and public health investment fund. “Stabilizing our public health system and expanding the delivery of HIV prevention programs are essential to reducing the number of new infections and related health care expenses,” the letter said.

It is unclear whether any of the pieces outlined in the letter will make it into the final bill, but committee member Anne Donnelly is hopeful. “I think it’s going to be a fight,” Donnelly said, “but I really want to remain optimistic that we can do something really historic if we work hard at it.”

Search: Obama, health care reform, Medicaid, public insurance option, Anne Donnelly

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