November 30, 2004
World AIDS Day Phone Zaps: Take Action on Domestic and Global AIDS Issues
While you're wearing an AIDS ribbon and attending wonderful World AIDS Day events on Wednesday, December 1st, take out a few minutes to make two phone calls to help save critical AIDS programs.
DOMESTIC: Protect People With AIDS In The Medicare Drug Program: Call HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson To Make Sure HIV/AIDS Is a "Special Population"
The new Medicare drug program is a life-and-death matter for over 80,000 Americans living with AIDS and HIV who will get their prescriptions under the new program. If it's not implemented right, folks could actually lose access to some lifesaving medications. Housing Works and the HIV Medicaid/Medicare Working Group are making one final push to make sure that the final regulations make people living with HIV/AIDS a "special population. " This will help make sure Medicare beneficiaries with AIDS and HIV get access to all the drugs we need.
CALL TOMMY THOMPSON ON WORLD AIDS DAY: (202) 690-5400 or (877) 696-6775
On Wednesday, December 1st, call the office of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson (202-690-5400 or 877-696-6775), and say:
"Today is World AIDS Day, and I am calling to urge Secretary Thompson to treat people with HIV as a special population in the Medicare prescription drug law regulations so people with AIDS can get the drugs they need to stay alive."
You can call either of the numbers. You might be on hold for a while using the toll-free number. Make sure you ask to be directed to the Secretary's office: (202) 690-5400 or (877) 696-6775. (If you aren't able to call on December 1st, please make the call as soon after as possible.)
BACKGROUND: The new Medicare drug benefit will replace Medicaid pharmaceutical coverage for about 80,000 Americans living with AIDS and HIV who are "dually eligible" for both programs, including tens of thousands of New Yorkers. The HIV Medicaid/Medicare Working Group developed public comments in response to the HHS proposed Medicare prescription drug bill regulations, and several hundred groups from around the country used them as a basis for their own comments. (You can read them online at www.cms.hhs.gov/regulations/ecomments/commentspage.asp).
We're fighting to make sure the Medicare drug program covers all the medications beneficiaries with AIDS and HIV need to stay alive, and that drug plans take special precautions to look out for their needs. The HIV Medicaid/Medicare Working Group is a national coalition of advocates working to protect and expand Medicaid and Medicare for people living with HIV/AIDS. For more information about the working group, write to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GLOBAL: Save the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, TB And Malaria
President Bush and his allies in Congress are trying to kill the Global AIDS Fund, the most effective and efficient way we have to fight the global AIDS epidemic. They must hear from all of us -- their constituents -- that this is unacceptable. We can save the Global Fund with full funding next year. Housing Works, HealthGAP, and student activists all around the country are focusing advocacy efforts on Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist - he wants to be a recognized leader on global AIDS, but we need him to do the right thing right now.
CALL SENATE MAJORITY LEADER BILL FRIST ON WORLD AIDS DAY (202-224-3344) and tell him:
"Today is World AIDS Day -- I am calling to ask Senator Frist to take action now to save the Global AIDS Fund. It's the best way we have to fight the global AIDS epidemic that's killing 8500 people a day. Senator Frist must write to President Bush and ask for full funding of the US fair share of the Global AIDS Fund in next year's budget - that would be $1.5 billion by 2006. And we need $330 million for the Global Fund in an emergency spending bill this winter. Stopping AIDS at home and abroad is important to me and the US should pay whatever it takes to make sure the Global Fund is operating at it highest capacity."
BACKGROUND: The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was launched with much fanfare by G7 leaders in 2001. It was intended to be a $10 billion a year multilateral war chest to train prevention workers and medical care providers and pay for the medicine needed to treat these diseases. In spite of outrageously low commitments from the Bush Administration and other countries, the Global Fund has funded cutting-edge programs in 140 countries and is providing treatment to millions of people with AIDS, TB and malaria. Bush and his allies are trying to kill the Global Fund in favor of PEPFAR, the President's go-it-alone program that's based on high-cost medications and wishful-thinking prevention methods. The Global Fund is flat-out better, and it deserves to live.
Global AIDS Fund
Bush AIDS Program
low cost quality generic drugs
requires expensive big-pharma drugs
active in 140 countries
active in 15 countries
low overhead costs (3%)
high overhead costs (30%)