Budget Cuts May End State HIV Program

Categories: Texas

budget-cuts.jpg
Not that much of an exaggeration
In the maelstrom of suckage that is the state's $15 billion budget deficit, potential cuts to one program might literally be a death-blow.

The Texas HIV Medication Program, which covers treatment for approximately 15,000 people with HIV/AIDS, is facing cuts that would wipe the program out in two years, according to Randall Ellis of Houston's Legacy Community Health Services. (Harris County had 1,270 diagnoses of HIV between 2002 and 2009 -- a 31.6 percent case-per-year rate -- according to the Department of State Health Services' 2009 Texas HIV Surveillance Report.).

UPDATE: Looks like everyone needs to hold their horses. Christine Mann at DSHS tells us it's not accurate to characterize the medication program's situation as facing "cuts."

Although there's potential for the program to face hard times, such a situation would be due to DSHS not getting an extra $19.2 million its asking for to cover the increased cost of the program. Not quite the same as the budget being cut.

"The HIV Medication Program was not listed as a budget reduction option in the proposed House and Senate bills as it was introduced....[DSHS] is seeking $19.2 million in additional funds for the 2012-13 biennium, in an exceptional item request to the Legislature. If it's not funded, we would consider restructuring the program to best meet the needs of our clients, given all of the available resources." (Check the DSHS fact sheet on the program for more details).


Created in 1987 and overseen by the Department of State Health Services, the program covers the exorbitant costs for upwards of 50 medications that could cost a single person $16,000-$24,000 a year out-of-pocket, Ellis says.

"The success of the program is that we actually have people...that are older," he tells Hair Balls. "At one point, we didn't have increasing enrollment in this program, because people were dying."

Although there are temporary cost-covering measures -- like ones offered by pharmaceutical companies -- they "are only temporary fixes -- people will die," Ellis says.

The strange thing is, we thought Rick Perry said Texas was kicking ass compared to everyone else. Maybe we just misunderstood.


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TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

I'm HIV positive.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

Grow up, boy.

Supanoobie
Supanoobie

Without easy access to HIV medicines HIV would be a death sentence. Thats why the funding was created in the first place moron. With even the CURRENT COST of hiv med, the medicine would be inaccessable to people who work and dont have insurance which is a LARGE percentage of people in this country. it would be like it used to be , where only magic johnson and other rich people can actually attain the fincances needed to pay thousands a month to save thier lives. And as far as people who did not get it from "risky activities" dont forget to include, rape victims, people in jail on minor crimes, people who are born with it, people forced into prostitution, human trafficking victims, and many other reasons.

If it was not for access to care, how many people do you think would actually want to find out and get tested? They already have problems getting people in to get tested as it is. Imagine if you take away that care. The transmission rate would likely more than double with in a year.

Yes people should take more resposibility for their own and others health. But lets face it, if people did that all on their own, this would not be a problem to begin with. How it should work, and what WILL work, are 2 different things and often are NOT the same. Read a little bit about the history of HIV around the world and see if you do not draw the same conclusion.

And using the fact you are HIV+ to make an attempt to prove your point is really asinine. There are a lot of people with HIV who are also quite ignorant about it. You dont have to be HIV+ to know history and facts.

Please speak little of that which you know nothing.

In regards to people with other potentially terminal illnesses, I totally agree they should have that same access as well. Simply because a society is judged by how it treats its infirmed, homeless, and imprisoned. However I fail to see how stopping funding for one illness will get funding for them all. That simply dont make any sense.

juliarix
juliarix

HIV is not actually a death sentence. It is a disease that can be managed and be controlled by the individual who acquired it allowing him to live a long normal and productive life like anyone else. POZmingle the largest dating and support site for HIV singles claim that they have 200,000 HIV members, Most of them are here to find understanding, support and love. It is really a good thing that encourage each other, Leading a healthy life.

Brian Greul
Brian Greul

Because it's cheaper to pay for medicine than Hospitalization. The numbers are really quite simple if you stop to think about it. Meds are approximately $9600 per year via Gov't savings. Federal Matching Dollars pay the lions share of it with only a token amount from Texas funds. With no dollars from Texas you get no Federal Dollars. The result is that 100% you put the people in Harris County Hospital District which comes out of our local property taxes. So it really is as simple as spending Federal Dollars vs. Local Property Tax dollars. Only an idiot would choose to spend local dollars.

Of course the other way to look at this is through the conspiracy theory lens. Given that 73% of new infections are African American and Latino in Harris County, and that 25% of new infections are among women and that the majority of the people living in Harris County who are HIV positive make less than $10,000 per year... (aka are very poor) perhaps this is just another stab at excluding the poor and minority citizens. Would our politicians do something awful like deny care to disadvantaged minorities?

What used to differentiate us is that we didn't discard are poor. In case you forgot your American history, the phrase "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled massess yearning to breathe free" is what is inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

Yeah, the whole thing is racist. Uh-huh. (your little race cards arn't working anymore, you've overused them) Pathetic.

MOWH
MOWH

This is a matter of public health (it benefits us all). By lowering the level of virus in individuals we lower the possibility of transmission. It is also a matter of providing the most cost effective methods of treatment. Keeping people living with HIV healthy and not letting the virus replicate unchecked renders HIV a manageable disease for most individuals.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

It should be up to the AIDS patient to eliminate any possibility of transmission.

Replicate? Again, see above.

Marc
Marc

Honestly, Texass is a sh!thole.

Big Tex
Big Tex

And you reside in a "shithole" why? Aren't too smart, are ya?

H_e_x
H_e_x

People are dying, actually dying. Not being killed by taxes or raped by the government, but actually dying. Out of all the programs to cut, they had to choose the one that helps people who are hiv positive.As of they haven't been shat upon by society enough, the legislature is pulling the plug on them.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

People die of all kinds of diseases. Should we have to pay for them all? Why only AIDS?

H_e_x
H_e_x

Even the people who got it through no fault of their own?

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

Surely you realize that is a miniscule percentage, right?

H_e_x
H_e_x

I have donated money and time but I'm not the kind of person who goes around flaunting it. It's called humility and it's in extremely poor taste to go around advertising how much good work you do. If you really want to know, then shoot me an email if you have an account.And to say that people get aids based solely poor decisions is not true. That is just a pathetic excuse to get out of helping people. Some people find the idea of helping others abhorrent, and that makes them bad people.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

I help people all the time. I donate to many worthy causes as well. Should I be obligated to provide funds to people who got AIDS by making bad decisions? Of course not. If you choose to, go right ahead.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Wait a minute. You go from asking me if I donated anything, to saying I haven't, then finish up by calling me a hypocrite. So you know what I have donated then? Because why else would you make such an assumption about someone you have never met let alone know.And they get free meds because they are societies most vulnerable people. Why shouldn't a just and fair society take care of those who need it?

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

So how much have you donated to AIDS patients? I can't wait to read this...

We should not be obligated to pay for their poor life choices. No one forced them to have unprotected sex or share needles. There is a thing called "personal responsibility". Do you know what that phrase means?

Glendafrk
Glendafrk

You're right we should have socialized medicine, and pay collectively for all healthcare, and a lot of the debt would start to vanish.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

Obama waved his magic wand and all will be good now. How gullible. You'll see...

Greateee
Greateee

That's true, look at the staggering % of GDP that we pay compared to other countries. And in return, our care doesn't rate as good as theirs. (Although you hear blathering about America having the 'best healthcare in the world'!!)

Shawshankd
Shawshankd

Yeah, a fairytale to believe that the Repubs would get smart and logical enough to see what is driving the long term debt: rising health care costs, and then decide to actually do something positive about it. Like reduce those rising costs.

Schwarzestiefel
Schwarzestiefel

We pay for Medicare. And those old people that benefit from Medicare have already contributed the majority of work and taxes that have contributed to our country's wealth. We do that because Americans believe that is the compassionate thing to do. If you have no compassion for people and just want to keep all your grubby money to yourself, get the fuck out of the USA.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

Time to come back from your little tangent now. We are talking about medications, not experimental cures or life support.

Delfranco1
Delfranco1

USA1, I mean, TheGovtTeat, writes: "Should we go ahead and pay for all medicines for everyone who has a disease?"

Guess what? We already do. We already pay for this and that sham cure, for keeping someone on life support, as well as cures that work well. We pay for it thru higher healthcare premiums, and higher priced services.

We simply need to re-organize this system so everyone pays in, some treatments are denied as fraudulent, we collectively bargain to keep med prices lower, and no one can be denied treatment because of preexisting conditions. Sorta the route Obama and Romney have recommended.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

You didn't answer my question. Why only AIDS? Should we go ahead and pay for all medicines for everyone who has a disease? Think logically.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

They should rely on donations, not us taxpayers.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Donations would never make enough money. Why? Because even though Americans do give a good deal of money to charities, it is nowhere near the amount needed to take care of people. There is more to life than thinking only about yourself and hoarding your money.I also believe that healthcare should be a basic right in the United States like it is in every other industrialized Western country. So yes, we should take care of every other disease.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

You can come up with a million excuses, it still doesn't explain why only AIDS parients should get free meds and not other people with other diseases. I'm not "hoarding" anything. How much have YOU donated to AIDS? Anything? No? Hypocrite.

HOHUM
HOHUM

A jab at Rick Perry. How surprising.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

Why should the rest of us be obligated to pay for their meds?

JB
JB

The sanctity of life? Oh wait, that only applies to the unborn and the undead.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

Is that all you've got? Really? Perhaps you should've thought about the question longer.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

There isn't a cure, so how does providing medicine to people with AIDS protect the rest of us?

Glendafrk
Glendafrk

Uh, as a matter of public health maybe?

H_e_x
H_e_x

Greater good of society. Same reason you pay for public schools and healthcare for the elderly.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Why should I, who is childless by choice, have to pay for someone else's kid to go to school? Because I believe in SOCIETY, not every fucking man for himself, that's why.

H_e_x
H_e_x

And that's the problem when teenagers read Atlas Shrugged. "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

Not even remotely comparable.

TheGovtTeat
TheGovtTeat

Comparing public schooling to free meds for AIDS patients? now THAT'S lazy.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Completely comparable in that both are intended to help people. To say that they are not without an argument is lazy, even on the internet.

MOWH
MOWH

Why is it not the same? Please explain what you mean by your comment "Not even remotely comparable."

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