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Obama administration reverses on Fla. AIDS drug program, will not cut funding

According to an HIV/AIDS patient advocacy group, the Obama administration announced Monday its decision to not limit the level of emergency funding Florida can receive for its AIDS Drug Assistance Program to less than what it received last year. #

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program, a nationwide payer of last resort for people who cannot afford their HIV/AIDS medications, has been in a funding crisis since 2010, which prompted many states, including Florida, to implement cost-containment measures such as waiting lists. #

The AIDS Institute issued a press release Monday stating that “Florida will now be eligible to receive additional funding to maintain beneficiaries on its struggling AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), but not enough to make a serious reduction to the waiting list, which now stands at 3,682 people.” #

The release adds, “Today [Monday] the federal government issued a clarification that allows states, particularly Florida, to receive at least as much as they received in emergency ADAP funding last year rather than be limited to only $3 million. Last year, Florida received $7 million in emergency ADAP funds.” #

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s HIV/AIDS Programs announced in late July a limit to how much money each state would receive from recently approved AIDS Drug Assistance Program “emergency relief funding.” #

Erin Moffet, press secretary for Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fort Lauderdale, told The Florida Independent in an email last Friday: #

Over the past week, Congressman Hastings has been in touch with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding this matter and working together with Congresswoman [Debbie] Wasserman Schultz and Senator [Bill] Nelson to find a solution that ensures that Florida has the resources it needs to provide access to lifesaving HIV/AIDS drugs through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). HHS is keeping us apprised of the situation and we hope to find a solution as soon as possible. #

National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors data issued on July 28 (.pdf) shows that 3,682 people are now on Florida’s waiting list for the drug assistance program, the longest such list in the U.S. Since April, the Sunshine State has been considering changing its income eligibility requirements from 400 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent. #

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