Statement on Introduction of Early Treatment for HIV Act
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Richard
Gephardt today reintroduced the Early Treatment for HIV Act with
a bipartisan group of more than 70 original cosponsors.
drug treatments have improved both the health and quality of life
for thousands, many uninsured and underinsured Americans still do
not have access to these life-saving medications because HIV-positive
individuals generally do not meet Medicaid requirements until they
are disabled by full-blown AIDS. This bill will allow low-income
individuals living with HIV to qualify for Medicaid coverage earlier
in the course of their disease.
treatment for HIV infection saves lives and reduces health care
costs as progression from HIV to full-blown AIDS is prevented or
delayed," Pelosi said. "Forcing people to wait for health
care until their immune system is compromised by AIDS is indefensible.
The law must be changed to eliminate barriers to early drug therapy."
A recent analysis
prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that passage of this legislation
will both improve the health of people with HIV and save taxpayer
Gephardt said: "Improving the quality of life for those with
HIV is a moral issue that our country must address. The Early Treatment
for HIV Act will go a long way toward that end, and I will continue
to work with Leader Pelosi to guide this important legislation through
The Early Treatment
for HIV Act is modeled after the successful Breast and Cervical
Cancer Treatment and Prevention Act of 2000, which allows states
to provide early access to Medicaid to women with breast and cervical
cancer. Even in these difficult fiscal times, 49 states have implemented
combined with a decline in AIDS deaths, mean that more people than
ever are living with HIV and AIDS," Pelosi said. "While
we must intensify our prevention efforts, including education about
behavioral risk and research for a vaccine, we must also respond
to the growing demand for HIV care. We urge our Congressional colleagues
and President Bush to join us in this effort."