June 7, 2011

June 7, 2011
AIDS drugs controversy with Governor Scott

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy and rainy day for Dab the AIDS Bear on the AIDS Life Cycle California.

Unfortunately, we have some more bad news for people with HIV and AIDS in Florida. Recently, Elton John wrote a letter to Governor Rick Scott asking him not to cut Ryan White eligibility from 400 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and thereby endangering the lives of thousands of Floridians with HIV and AIDS.

Singer Elton John is pleading with Gov. Rick Scott to halt any proposed changes to Florida's Aids Drug Assistance Program. The Scott administration is considering whether to change the income eligibility requirements from 400 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent.

Scott's office has put out the following points in reaction to this AP story here:

* Gov. Scott did NOT veto any funding for AIDS-related programs in the budget signed last week.

* Florida spends more than $200 million on AIDS drug assistance and other AIDS health initiatives each year.

* The Dept. of Health has proposed an amendment to current rule to change the eligibility standard for the ADAP program from 400% of Federal Poverty Level to 200% FPL.

* This change will ensure that Florida is allocating the dollars appropriated for AIDS drugs to those who are most needy and most vulnerable. Florida’s waiting list for AIDS drug assistance is currently more than twice as large as any other state. Florida also has a more generous eligibility standard than most other states.

* If the rule change is promulgated, individuals with AIDS whose incomes are above 200% of FPL and who have extraordinary medical expenses would still be able to receive assistance through Florida’s Medicaid for the Medically Needy program, which will pay for their AIDS drugs.

What the Governor does not understand (or does not care) is that he will be taking away hope from thousands of Floridians trying to live with HIV and AIDS when they lose services and go no longer afford their life saving medications.

But then I guess when you can afford to spend $70 million dollars of your own money getting elected to Governor of a state, you probably do not have any understanding of what it is like for the average citizen dealing with a chronic illness.

So what can you do to help? Contact Governor Scott and let him know how you feel. If you do not know how go to Google and search for Governor Scott contact information.

Floridians with HIV and AIDS are counting on your help.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab