HIV Patients in Georgia are Drowning. Will the State Do the Right Thing?

With the nation hurdling towards January 1, 2014, when some important parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) kick in, individual states are frantically scrambling to get ready — or digging in their heels in stubbornness that could have serious consequences for their residents. Georgia is one of several states that has refused Medicaid expansion, a decision that represents serious risks to its most low-income, vulnerable residents, especially the population of people living with HIV and AIDS.

In a curious twist, while Georgia may be home to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, site of some of the most cutting-edge medical and public health research, the state has the highest rate of new HIV infections in the nation. Those infected with the virus are often low-income with low levels of education, which makes them extremely reliant on government programs intended to help HIV and AIDS patients. That’s a dangerous combination when some of those programs are slated for funding cuts or total dismantling under a changing health care system combined with an economic depression.

These programs are not, of course, streamlined; patients in Georgia struggle to meet the state’s extremely strict Medicaid guidelines while also applying for assistance through Georgia’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program, housing help and other means to help them afford food, medications and a place to live. Simply applying for services can eat up hours of time every week, as can maintaining the documentation necessary to support eligibility claims and stay covered. Living with HIV and AIDS can be a costly proposition and while there are a few innovative AIDS clinics in Georgia working on facilitating patient care, many patients don’t have access to them.

Governor Nathan Deal has taken a hard line on Medicaid expansion as part of his overall commitment to conservative politics, even though it could cost some Georgia residents their lives. At the same time ACA is moving into full swing, many agencies providing health care and outreach services are experiencing substantial cuts because of the sequester, and some of those cuts are especially deep. Federal funders assume that ACA will be able to pick up the slack, while in states like Georgia, that isn’t the case, and patients won’t be able to get the services they need.

Writing for Creative Loafing Atlanta, Cathy Woolard notes that: “Without at least $9 million in unanticipated new funding from either federal or state sources beginning on January 1, we will once again have a waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and see HIV infection rates grow to even more alarming levels.” She predicts a snowball effect as funding shortages disrupt access to medications and housing, making people with HIV infections more likely to transmit the virus to others and creating a situation where the state’s pigheadedness could create a bigger problem than the one it started with in the long term.

This case illustrates what happens when enforcement of comprehensive federal legislation is left to the states, who get to determine on an individual basis how they want to implement it. In many conservative states, there’s considerable resistance to expanding Medicaid and taking other measures to provide coverage for low-income residents, many of whom are more likely to experience disability and disease. In these states, conditions are only going to get worse after 1 January, but the party at fault is not ACA: it’s administrators and political officials who choose not to take full advantage of ACA’s opportunities.

For low-income HIV and AIDS patients in Georgia, political wrangling and discussion provide cold comfort. They need secure and reliable access to services to stay healthy and limit spread of HIV, and it’s seemingly increasingly likely they won’t get that unless Deal experiences a change of heart in time for the state to implement an expanded Medicaid program.

Will the state do the right thing?

 

Related articles:

Scott Brown Wants to Repeal Affordable Care Act He Uses to Cover His Daughter

HIV/AIDS: The Tide Is Turning, But Not Fast Enough

Integrated Family Planning and HIV/AIDS Services

 

Photo credit: Elvert Barnes

68 comments

Thomas D
Thomas D.4 months ago

I am here to give my testimony about a doctor who help me in my life. I was infected with HIV virus in the 2012,i went to many hospitals, churches for cure but there was no solution out, so I was thinking how can I get a solution out so that i cannot loose my life, I lost everything I have my husband run away from me and also took my children along because of my sickness. One day I was in the river side thinking the next step to take if it is to jump into the river so that I can loose my life totally or just think where I can go to get solution. so a lady walk to me telling me why am I so sad and i open up all to him telling her my stories, she told me that she can help me out that’s the reason she normally come here to help people so that thy can be cured because she was into this problem before, she introduce me to a doctor who cast spells on people and gave me his number and email so i called him and also email him. He told me all the things I need to provide and also give me instructions to take, which I followed properly. Before I knew what is happening he called me and told me that i should go for an HIV test and which i did as he told me and the result was negative. so if you are also heart brokened and also need a help you can also email him at dr.camalahivadscure@yahoo.com OR call +2349055637784

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Helen S.
.9 months ago

my name is HELEN STEVEN From CANADA. i am here to share a testimony on now i was cure from HIV through the help of DR.OGUMEN i was an HIV patient for over 5years looking for how to cure the virus disease.i want to different professionals doctors who gave me different medicine to cure the virus still it did not work. i even try some traditional herber medicine. i decided to look for help else where by going to the internet to look for how i can get rid for the virus disease when i come across a lot of many testimony about a particular spell caster who can cure different virus diseases with his spell. some testify that he can cure {1}HIV and AIDS {2} DIABETES {3} EPILEPSY {4} BLOOD CANCER and lot more with his spell .i also come across a particular testimony about one woman on how she was cure from HIV by this same spell caster. At first i did not believe but i decided to give it a try, To my greatest surprise after i contacted him and he help me to cure the virus disease with his powerful spell, After which i went to the hospital to confirm, i was told by the doctor that i am HIV negative. Thanks to DR.GOUMEN who help me cure my virus disease. i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man and he has brought joy in my life. If you have same problem and you are looking for who can help you in what ever virus disease you have, you can contact him through his email address: ogumensolutioncenter@yahoo.com or add him on whatsapp 2347064358629. you can also reach him

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Carole R.
Carole R4 years ago

Thanks for the post.

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Jeaneen Andretta
Past Member 4 years ago

How will man kind ever be truly kind, if we leave anyone out who needs help.

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Ro H.
Ro H4 years ago

ty

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Cynthia B.
cynthia l4 years ago

so disheartening =people need to be helped

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Debbie Williamson

Thanks for the information. Maddening and disheartening.

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faith v.
faith v4 years ago

Repubs have a name for this.

They call it death panelling.

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John B.
John B4 years ago

Thanks Ms. Smith for the article. Shameful and sad. When will the conservatives find compassion?

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Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis4 years ago

The Real Problem - DICKS in Power!

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