For Immediate Release
LOS ANGELES, CA - June 28, 2012 - AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) today hailed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act for bringing the nation one step closer to health care access for all Americans, including the 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS.
"APLA has always said that universal health care access is a requisite to ending the AIDS epidemic and to addressing other pressing health care crises facing the nation," said APLA Executive Director Craig E. Thompson. "The Court's decision is a key step closer to that goal, ending the enormous disparity dividing public health programs from our undeniable advances in medical treatment and technology."
The Court's decision upholds both the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, as well as its expansion of Medicaid to low-income citizens in 2014. The Act is predicted to provide over 30 million uninsured Americans with health-care coverage. Some 17 million will access coverage through the Medicaid expansion.
"People most at risk for HIV, especially young gay men and low-income men and women of color, will now have access to routine healthcare services, including preventive healthcare," Thompson said. "Previously, they often never saw doctors or only sought medical treatment in the emergency room, often when the situation was already dire."
"We know how to prevent HIV infections, and we know how to treat people living with the disease to keep them as healthy and productive as possible," Thompson said. "But we can't do this without healthcare programs that educate people about HIV and provide those living with AIDS with ready access to treatment and care.
"California is already moving forward on healthcare reform, with expansions of Medicaid, coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and a health care exchange where the uninsured will be able to purchase affordable coverage," Thompson added. "The Supreme Court has given California and the rest of the nation the green light to proceed. It is a seminal moment in the nation's effort to extend basic human rights - including the right to healthcare - to all its people, including people living with HIV/AIDS."
"The Ryan White Care Act has provided care and treatment for people living with HIV and AIDS since 1990," Thompson also explained. "The program is a proven and cost-effective public health program that has helped contain the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. As some Ryan White programs will now transition to new coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Congress must do all it can to support and sustain the Ryan White programs during this transitional phase. This will ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS have uninterrupted access to the care, treatment and services they need to sustain their health."
AIDS Project Los Angeles, one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct care and treatment services to over 7,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles annually and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. In 2013, APLA marked its 30th year of operation, and we are a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach.
APLA Health & Wellness is a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary medical care, oral healthcare, mental health services, HIV testing, STD screening/ treatment and health education and HIV prevention services targeting low income gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals. APLA Health & Wellness serves over 6,000 individuals across Los Angeles County each year.
For more information, visit apla.org.