you're reading...
Governor Pat Quinn, HIV/AIDS, Illinois Budget, Illinois Politics

Advocates, Lawmakers Want Governor Pat Quinn to Reject Waiting List for People Needing HIV/AIDS Medication; Quinn Non-Committal

State Senator Heather Steans

(Chicago, IL) — May 24, 2010. “What a clear example of what a fiasco this budget is,” said State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

Steans was commenting on a state advisory panel vote on May 21 to urge the state to immediately close the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) to new applicants and begin a waiting list has generated furious push-back from advocates and state lawmakers.

“Because the program is deeply underfunded, Illinois must take immediate steps to preserve services for those who rely on ADAP for their life-saving care,” said David Ernesto Munar, vice president of AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), and a member of the ADAP Medical Issues Advisory Board, which made the recommendation.

The Medical Issues Advisory Board, comprised of doctors, pharmacists, legal experts, advocates, and people with HIV, advises the Illinois Department of Public Health on ADAP policy.   Jointly funded by the state and federal governments, ADAP provides HIV medications to low-income, HIV-positive Illinoisans who lack the money to purchase costly HIV medicine.

The recommendation is now under review by state officials–and under fire from advocates and legislators.

“We call on Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, the Illinois General Assembly and the federal government to provide immediate assistance to maintain this and other core public health and HIV programs,” said AFC President/CEO Mark Ishaug.

In addition to Steans, other state lawmakers are already voicing strong opposition to the panel’s recommendation.

“I am undone by this. More than 14 years ago, I began my career in the legislature fighting to ensure that life-saving drugs were available to people with HIV/AIDS and I will continue to fight this year,” said State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). “I will work with Governor Quinn to find the money necessary for HIV medicine to keep people alive.”

State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) says even in a budget crisis HIV/AIDS medication should be a priority-funded program.

“The state’s financial situation is in veritable collapse. There is no way to resolve the budget crisis without a combination of major budget cuts, strategic borrowing and revenue increases. That being said, we must give priority to programs like ADAP where being put on a waiting list, or providing inadequate funding is the difference between life and death for thousands of people across Illinois.”

In particularly strong language, House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) called on Quinn to flatly ignore state medical panel’s budget recommendation.

“Putting people infected with the HIV/AIDS virus on a waiting list for medication is like putting them on death’s row. I urge Governor Quinn to reject the Medical Issues Advisory Board’s recommendation to create a waiting list for HIV/AIDS medication.”

The Illinois General Assembly will convene this week in Springfield to finalize the fiscal year 2011 state budget.

Advocates estimate that an additional $9.68 million in state funding in fiscal year 2011 is needed to avert a waiting list.  In April 2010, 4,391 Illinoisans with HIV obtained HIV medications through ADAP, a new record.  Each month, more than 100 people join the program.

Without ADAP or adequate insurance, HIV medications are beyond the reach for most people.   An HIV medication regimen can cost as much as $20,000 per year.

“We clearly need to make judicious cuts that do not impact our neediest citizens and ultimately cost the state more,” said Steans.

“In this case not only is the program more humane but it prevents people from having far more serious health needs that the State will also have to cover.”

“People of color will be most impacted by a closed program and waiting list,” said Rev. Doris Green, AFC director of correctional health and community affairs.  “Two out of three people using Illinois ADAP are African American or Latino.”

Quinn is, however, non-committal on ADAP funding.

“Governor Quinn continues working with lawmakers to pass a responsible budget that funds vital programs for Illinois residents,” according to statement released by the Governor’s office.

ADAPs across the nation are facing financial crises.  Illinois would become the 12th state to institute a waiting list if the advisory panel’s recommendation moves forward.  More than 1,000 individuals are currently on ADAP waiting lists across the U.S.

“It’s a national embarrassment that people with HIV can’t get access to the medications that will allow them to work, thrive and contribute to society,” said Munar, who is living with HIV.

Let’s hope Governor Quinn can scrape up the commitment and the $9.7 million out of a $25 billion budget to provide HIV/AID drugs to help keep people, your neighbors, alive.

We think he can.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Submit your email address and be among the first to receive our posts by e-mail as soon as they are published. It's free.

David Ormsby, Editor

RSS Gov. Pat Quinn

  • McHenry County Blog | Pat Quinn Tells Truth about Pension ... Cal Skinner
  • Pat Quinn Criticizes Scott Walker On Jobs The Huffington Post News Editors
  • Will Governor Pat Quinn Sign Illinois Budget on Thursday? « Child ... Marge Berglind
  • Quinn: Lawmakers Must 'Show Some Fortitude' On Pension ... Todd Feurer
  • Governor Pat Quinn Puts His Foot Down On Gambling Expansion ... Mark
  • Senate narrowly backs Quinn on facility closures - Capitol Fax.com Rich Miller
  • Gov. Pat Quinn Releases 2011 Federal, Illinois Taxes David Ormsby
  • Democurmudgeon: Gov. Pat Quinn exposes Scott Walker as a fake ... Democurmudgeon
  • Chicago News Bench: No, Really, Pat Quinn Still Sucks More Than ... TM-1000
  • Advocates Seek Illinois Child Welfare Vision from Governor Pat Quinn Marge Berglind

RSS IL General Assembly

  • General Assembly puts health exchange bill on back burner - Crain's Chicago Business May 10, 2012
  • IL educators react to proposed state budget cuts - WREX-TV May 11, 2012
  • Violence Against Women Act Survives Partisan Fight, Quinn Told Not To Close ... - Patch.com May 9, 2012
  • American Progressive Bag Alliance Urges Illinois General Assembly To Pass ... - MarketWatch (press release) May 1, 2012
  • You Paid For It: IL General Assembly Scholarship Program - FOX2now.com May 7, 2012
  • Our Opinion: Anti-bully bill should get OK - The State Journal-Register May 10, 2012
  • Illinois State University considers 4.4 percent tuition increase - Herald & Review May 10, 2012
  • American Progressive Bag Alliance Urges Illinois General Assembly To Pass ... - PR Newswire (press release) May 1, 2012
  • Asian-Americans to have state caucus - WBEZ May 8, 2012
  • Suburban mayors also urge state to pass pension reform - Chicago Sun-Times May 10, 2012

RSS The Capitol Fax Blog

  • Question of the day May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Political cover or political payback? May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Illinois Needs Private Sector Jobs Now! Why Labor Leaders Support Senate Bill 1849 May 10, 2012 Advertising Department
  • Senate narrowly backs Quinn on facility closures - Chamber backs Quinn pension reforms May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • House approves bill to effectively end free employee health insurance premiums May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • *** UPDATED x2 - VIDEO *** Smith hearing resumes today (LIVE Coverage and Video) May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • *** UPDATED x2 *** Not a big deal at all, but it’s probably time to delegate a bit more May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Morning Shorts May 10, 2012 Owen Irwin
  • *** LIVE SESSION COVERAGE *** May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - COWL review, supplement to today’s edition and a Statehouse roundup May 10, 2012 Rich Miller

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 135 other followers

Powered by WordPress.com