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  • Statement of HIVMA Chair Wendy Armstrong, MD on House Passage of the AHCA

    05/04/2017

    We are disheartened by today’s passage of the American Health Care Act by the U.S. House of Representatives and deeply concerned about its negative impact on patients with HIV. The AHCA dismantles key health reforms that have been pivotal to ending discriminatory practices that previously locked patients with HIV out of the individual insurance market and that guaranteed access to coverage for key services, including prescription drugs and mental health and substance use treatment. The bill’s retreat in supporting healthcare access under Medicaid for individuals who are low income and disabled stands to do the most harm, particularly to the 42% of patients with HIV who count on the Medicaid program. HIV is an infectious disease, and we know that “treatment is prevention.” In other words, the best way to prevent HIV is to keep in care and on treatment those who are infected. By decreasing access to HIV care and treatment, the AHCA may worsen the HIV epidemic in the US at a time when new infections were beginning to go down.

    We urge the Senate to reject the AHCA and work to improve rather than worsen access to health coverage and healthcare through meaningful interventions that will stabilize the individual health insurance market and that maintain our nation’s federal commitment to the Medicaid program. Our country cannot be great if we do not make it a priority for everyone, including persons with HIV, to have access to health care.

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    The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) is the professional home for more than 5,000 physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIVMA promotes quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice. For more information, visit www.hivma.org.

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