October 16, 2013

October 16, 2013
Sandbox Standoff in DC

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and we have almost made it through the middle of another work week. I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock then you know about the United States government being shut down because of the inability of our elected officials to work together. One party is trying to hold the government and people hostage to get what they want and the other party isn't budging.

It has now been 16 DAYS since the government closed its doors on the American people because the politicians in Washington, DC are more concerned with scoring political points and posturing on the cable news programs rather than collectively doing their job; in the meantime, people living with HIV/AIDS -- and many other underserved populations -- scramble to make ends meet, including how the shutdown is impacting their daily lives. Some political pundits have described the current partisan rancor on Capitol Hill as nothing less than a bunch of cranky children fighting over a sandbox. Dab the AIDS Bear Project agrees.

The negative consequences of the current political stalemate between the President, House Republicans (especially the Tea Party element of the GOP) and Senate Democrats cannot be under-estimated, or maybe even truly comprehended without digging deeper. But recent new reports provide ample evidence that the budget debacle is already raging havoc on the nation's public health system.

The Washington Blade reported that the shutdown will prevent the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) from properly monitoring grants administered under the Ryan White CARE Act -- including the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. And after the debacle with the Florida ADAP several years ago, there is plenty of reason for advocates to be concerned over the loss of federal oversight. The impasse also will halt the seasonal influenza program. It even means potential delays in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of new drugs, as well as delays in clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.

The online publication, Medical Economics, has made available a listing of healthcare agencies being affected by the shutdown.

With so much of the blame being placed at the feet of the Tea Party, it is rather ironic that one of the nation's leading coffee retailers has entered the fray. On October 10th, Starbucks launched its "Come Together" campaign designed "to harness the sentiment many of us are feeling a growing concern about the lack of progress from our Congressional leadership to work together to resolve the business of the American people." The company is encouraging people to sign an online petition at www.ComeTogetherPetition.com.

All ADAP stakeholders, especially people living with HIV, are encouraged to contact their elected federal lawmakers in Washington and urge them to end the government shutdown. Lives are at stake!

To find the contact information for your elected officials go to: http://dabtheaidsbearproject.com/howtocoyopor.html

Hope you have a beary safe and great Wednesday!

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

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab