I don't live under any pretense that Americans don't have a single payer health care system or even a public option or the right to buy into Medicare because we're morally inferior to other countries that have such systems. Indeed, one of the biggest motivations other countries had when it came to developing such systems was the fact that it helps everyone, so it's in people's general self-interest to maintain such a system. It also helped that those countries didn't have an oversized health care sector in their economy pumping bribes aka campaign contributions into their legislative bodies, but the fundamental difference is one of knowledge. Our general issue is political confusion and disinformation fed to us as news and legitimate opinion, not a lack of morality.
But then, when it comes to states that are seeking to cut ADAP funding for lower-income and uninsured folks living with HIV/AIDS, it's pretty much just a moral issue. And the state house of South Carolina just voted to end that state's contribution to ADAP:
The South Carolina House voted Thursday to cut all HIV/AIDS funding from the budget, a funding issue that could affect thousands of South Carolinians.
The South Carolina HIV/AIDS Care Crisis Task Force reports there are more than 14,000 people living in the state who have tested positive for HIV or AIDS. About 3,000 people rely on government funds for medications.
For Brian Morgan, two pills carry a miracle.
"Life," he added, shaking pills out of a bottle.
There aren't many things scarier than knowing that your life hangs on the kindness of your state's legislature.
ADAP funds are mostly distributed by the federal government under the Ryan White CARE Act, but many states supplement that money to prevent waiting lines and funding shortfalls. South Carolina receives more funds for ADAP than the average state does, and it also has an above-average HIV rate.
These drugs save lives, and when the state cuts the funds, people die:
Dr. Bambi Gaddist of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Care Crisis Task Force says when state funding began in 2006, more than 600 people were on a waiting list for medicine. Four of those people died.
"The funding from the legislature ensured that we could eliminate that wait list," said Gaddist. "To get these 600+ people that were in waiting to get medication off of that list and to ensure they got well, got back to work."
Gaddist says if funding is cut, there will be a new line of people who can't get medication.
"In 2006 we made some progress, we cannot stand to go back," said Gaddist.
And, as Gaddist point out, when people go off their meds they're more likely to transmit the virus to others, which will only further burden the program.
California last year, when facing a massive deficits, also considered cutting ADAP funds. There's talk about cutting them in North Carolina. At the same time, the federal government always seems to find money to pay off failed investment bank's shareholders or for more war venturing on the other side of the world. But to set up a fully funded program to pay for Americans' HIV medication needs? We just don't have the money for that.
After two years of blogging under the oppressive weight of astronomical numbers when talking about anything the government is going to pay for, the tune of $4 million sounds awfully quaint. Hell, individual Wall Street bankers get far more money in their yearly bonus than $4 million. Yet people's health is going to be put at risk and people are going to die so that someone else can buy a seventh mansion.
There's nothing that can be said about such gross inequality other than "evil."