The Supreme Court ruling today upholding the Affordable Care
Act (ACA) as the law of the land is a significant victory for people with HIV
infection and the public health of our nation. The ACA corrects the injustices
of our current health system, which often denies health insurance coverage to
those who need it the most. Too many of our patients have died prematurely
despite the availability of effective HIV treatment due to late diagnosis and
poor access to health care services.
Early and reliable access to HIV
care and treatment not only saves the life of the HIV-infected individual but
significantly reduces HIV transmission risk. With 1.2 million people living
with HIV infection in the U.S. -- at least 20 percent of them not knowing they
are infected -- and around 50,000 new infections occurring annually, the ACA
offers unprecedented opportunity to make significant headway against the HIV
Today, fewer than 15 percent of people with HIV have private
insurance coverage and at least a quarter are uninsured. The ACA creates a
level playing field for them and others with serious and chronic conditions by
expanding Medicaid to all low income individuals and creating regulated
state-based exchanges for purchasing insurance. These provisions are made
possible by the individual mandate and the other policies upheld today that are
vital to offering the more than 50 percent of people with HIV not in care the
opportunity to benefit from lifesaving HIV care and treatment.
last three decades, HIV infection has rooted itself in too many poor and
vulnerable communities across the country. We urge Congress and state
policymakers to help us end the HIV public health crisis by recognizing the ACA
as the law of the land by fully implementing the Medicaid expansion and
supporting the law with full funding. The nearly 50 million uninsured
Americans, including many people with HIV infection, deserve no less.
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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