Ohio, other states cut HIV/AIDS drug subsidies

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Plain Dealer‘s Diane Suchetka says that rising medication costs and demand driven by the swelling ranks of the jobless have forced an Ohio state program to stop providing free HIV/AIDS medication to about 1,000 of its 5,000 customers.

Folks earning between 300 percent and 500 percent of the federal poverty line will be cut outright, and even those who remain with the program will find it more difficult to get secondary services such as dental coverage, rent subsidies and certain medical conditions. Their all-important antiretroviral drugs, however, will still be free.

The cutbacks will hit new applicants as well, as the state will now consider both the income and the medical condition of the patient. In the past, all that was needed was a qualifying income and, presumably, a positive diagnosis. “New clients who don’t qualify for medical reasons will be placed on a waiting list,” Suchetka writes.

Ohio isn’t the only state making these cuts. Others — including Arkansas, North Dakota, Utah and Washington — have trimmed their programs, too, according to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS directors. And, as of July 1, more than 2,000 people in 11 states were on waiting lists for medication assistance, according to the nonprofit agency.

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