California’s 2008–09 Budget Proposal Cuts HIV/AIDS Funding
February 11, 2008—California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently announced his FY 2008–09 budget proposal, which includes significant expenditure reductions for several HIV/AIDS programs and services; among those hardest hit is the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).
In 2007, California’s contribution to ADAP was approximately $1 billion. The governor’s proposed $7 million cut would be a 6.5 percent reduction in ADAP funds. An additional $3.6 million would be cut from local assistance programs and services—including those focused on AIDS education and prevention, AIDS epidemiology studies and surveillance, and HIV counseling and testing.
While the proposed budget would allow ADAP to continue providing antiretroviral medications to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), the availability of several drugs designed to treat related conditions would be eliminated from the program’s drug formulary.
Also included in the budget is a 10 percent cut in funding for Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program. The governor’s proposal would eliminate several of the program’s health services and would reduce medical reimbursement rates.
With slightly more than 58,000 PLWHA, California ranks second to New York in the size of its HIV-positive population. As of 2005, California ranked first among states with PLWHA who accessed the ADAP program (17,306) and 97 percent of those had incomes at or below the federal poverty line. Cuts in these programs could have a major impact on many of the state’s low-income PLWHA who are dependent on state health services.