Fewer Georgians waiting for critical HIV meds
If you’re an uninsured, poor Georgian with HIV, your shot at getting life-saving meds hasn’t been good. But it’s getting better and you have Obamacare to thank for it, much to the chagrin of the state’s conservative power structure.
Georgia remains a national leader with its waiting list for its AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which serves low-income HIV-positive people with no health insurance. But after months of having the largest waiting list in the U.S., Georgia has fallen to No. 2.
More importantly, consider the drastic reductions seen in Georgia’s ADAP waiting list: In February, the list topped out at 1,320 people. By mid June, that number plummeted to 503, according to ADAP Watch. That’s a drop of more than 60 percent.
How did it happen? Georgia Health News explains.
The decrease in the waiting list reflects the movement of many Georgians into the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. That’s a provision of the 2010 health reform law that serves as a safety-net plan for the “uninsurables’’ who can’t get coverage due to medical conditions.
The state Department of Public Health said last week that more than 350 ADAP clients were electronically enrolled into the Pre-Existing Condition Plan at the end of April, and these patients are nearing the final stages of enrollment.
Currently, the 29 individuals fully enrolled in that insurance plan will save the state the state about $46,500 ‘‘while also receiving a higher quality of care,’’ said Ryan Deal, a spokesman for Public Health, in a statement.
Georgia’s ADAP waiting list has also benefited from a $3 million injection of federal funds last October. And even people on the list sometimes receive drug help from pharmaceutical companies.
But Georgia Equality, which has lobbied to reduce the state’s waiting list, says the fight is not over.
“More must be done to ensure that all Georgians have guaranteed access to HIV medications,” the group said in a Facebook post.
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