Thursday, June 10, 2010

Let Them Die To Keep Our Jobs

This one riles me up.

The AIDS Drug Assistance program [ADAP] needs money badly. ADAP provides HIV and AIDS medications for low-income people who might otherwise not be able to afford their medications. Advocacy groups would like Congress to allot $126 million dollars this year to provide such AIDS drugs for all who need them.

Some members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, like the idea, but are reluctant to back the program because they fear that allocating additional spending, even to something as vital as ADAP, might jeopardize their chances of being re-elected.

Seriously. People's very lives are at risk and our elected officials are worried about their jobs.

William Arnold, executive director of the National ADAP Working Group, says the program is facing a crisis never seen before, where a growing number of low income people with HIV or AIDS may be denied life-saving anti-retroviral drugs in at least 11 states because state ADAP affiliates have run out of money. Those 11 states will be forced to create "waiting lists" for patients who otherwise would receive AIDS medication prescribed by their doctors. One of those states is South Carolina.

And, while people "wait" for their medications, the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress have yet to make a commitment to back the measure.

Eighty members of the House--all but one were Democrats--including Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin, signed a petition sent to the White House urging the president to back the emergency funding measure. They have yet to receive a reply.

Where is our fierce advocate now?

Baldwin also said that, while she was certain Democrats would support the $126 million emergency appropriation, Republicans are still following a policy of opposing nearly all spending bills proposed by Democrats.

Is it a game of partisanship and power-plays while people "wait"?

Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, wants Baldwin and House Democrats to introduce a measure anyway, calling the Republican bluff.
And, Weinstein also points out that Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma introduced a bill last month that would take the $126 million that ADAP needs from a stash of unobligated funds in the federal stimulus program, but no Democrats so far have agreed to become co-sponsors.

Democrats and the White House are opposed to taking any money, even unobligated money, from the stimulus program.

So, let's cut to the chase.

The money is available, but the men and women in Congress are fearful that if they allocate another spending program they may not be re-elected.
So let people die.

Republicans don't want to sign onto another Democratic spending bill.
So let people die.

Democrats don't want to take unused money for this desperately needed program.
So let people die.

But, and here's the rub, without the money, many people with HIV and AIDS won't get their medications. Without their medications they will get sick, and perhaps die. But, before they die, they will be hospitalized, without medical coverage, and the government will pick up the tab.

We could save lives with a little money or we could let people die and spend a lot of money.


Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

perhaps the advocates are getting luke warm these day...hope not Bob!

madtexter (corey james) said...

I wish there were term limits to ALL branches of government - local and national.

I am not surprised these politios are acting this way. It's just human selfish nature.

Cubby said...

My husband and I are freaking out about the softening of support for ADAP. It keeps Greg alive, literally. I almost lost him to AIDS once, before the drug cocktails were developed. He's been healthy ever since. Without those drugs... I cringe thinking about it.