Log Cabin Praises Senator Gordon Smith's Introduction of Bill to Tackle Early Treatment of HIV

Early Treatment of HIV Act (ETHA) Will Save Lives

February 8, 2005 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Washington, DC) – Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR), joined by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), has re-introduced the Early Treatment of HIV Act (ETHA). "Log Cabin praises Senator Smith for re-introducing this much needed legislation. This program will save lives, reduce the transmission rates of HIV, and over time, save millions of dollars," said Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Guerriero.

Currently, Medicaid will only pay HIV treatment costs for people who (1) are defined as low income and (2) are parents, minor children, elderly, or disabled. However, many low income HIV positive people are not parents, minor children, or elderly, so they are covered only if they meet the Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) definition for disability. Unfortunately, the SSI disability definition includes only those HIV positive individuals who have developed full-blown AIDS. Accordingly, Medicaid currently offers no help until a person has AIDS.

"Waiting to treat an HIV positive person until they have full blown AIDS flies in the face of common sense, compassion, and current medical guidelines. HIV positive individuals must wait until they get very sick before Medicaid will cover them," said Log Cabin Republicans Political Director Chris Barron.

ETHA will allow states to develop Medicaid programs that offer treatment options for low income HIV positive people long before they develop full-blown AIDS. The legislation is patterned after the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Treatment Act of 2000 (BCCPT), which has allowed states to expand Medicaid coverage to include women who are in the early stages of breast or cervical cancer.

"Log Cabin hopes that as the President and the Congress debate how to combat HIV/AIDS, both domestically and worldwide, they would join Senator Smith in supporting ETHA," concluded Barron.