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 (APLA) was founded in 1983 and is one of the largest nonprofit HIV/AIDS service organizations in the United States. APLA provides bilingual support to more than 6,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County annually and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. Additionally, APLA conducts behavioral research designed to inform the development of evidence-based interventions and assists health departments in evaluating their HIV/AIDS services to ensure the delivery of effective and quality programs. APLA also provides administrative and fiscal support to the Global Forum on Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSMGF), which promotes and advocates for the health and human rights of MSM internationally. APLA is proud to be a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national, and global reach. For more information, please visit apla.org.
APLA Health & Wellness (APLAHW) provides primary medical and oral health care, behavioral health services, HIV testing, PrEP counseling and management of eligible clients, STD screening/treatment, and health education and HIV-prevention services, with a specific focus on low-income LGBT people of color living in Los Angeles County. APLAHW is a federally qualified health center that includes: the Gleicher/Chen Health Center in South Los Angeles; the Wilshire Dental Clinic downtown; the S. Mark Taper Foundation Dental Clinic in South Los Angeles; Behavioral Health Services at the David Geffen Center in Mid-City; and a mobile dental facility. APLA Health & Wellness serves more than 8,000 people each year. For more information, please visit aplahw.org.