Alex Blaze

Florida starts waiting list for HIV/AIDS meds

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 04, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living

Florida is cutting people off from HIV/AIDS medication, citing budget concerns:

hiv-aids-medication.pngThe number of HIV-positive patients applying to the $93 million AIDS Drugs Assistance Program (ADAP) has jumped as people lost jobs and health insurance, but squeezed state and federal budgets can't keep up with the demand, officials said.

The state Department of Health will start a waiting list for the program on June 1, will reduce the number of covered drugs in the program on Aug. 1, and will study other cuts, said Tom Liberti, chief of the department's HIV/AIDS bureau.

With an enormous oversupply of labor in the US economy (tens of millions of people looking for work! Why can't they work on this?), you'd think that we'd be able to find the means of producing medication that keeps people alive. It seems more basic than this:

While the American people find themselves priced out of health insurance and healthcare, the CEOs of America's largest for-profit health insurers are making record salaries.

And perks . . .like private corporate aircraft, country club memberships, security services (wonder why they need this?) and a lifestyle most Americans can only dream about.

It's really long overdue that the American people hit the streets to demand guaranteed and affordable healthcare. It's also long overdue that we drive a stake through the heart of the fully parasitic Murder by Spreadsheet for-profit insurance industry.[...]

Meet the parasites:

Ron Williams - Aetna

Total Compensation: $24,300,112

Details: Williams earned $24,300,112 in total compensation for 2008, with more than half of that ($13,537,365) coming from option awards. He also received an additional $6,456,630 in stock awards to go along with his base salary of $1,091,764.

Personal use of a corporate aircraft and vehicle, as well as financial planning and 401(k) company matches added up to $101,487 for Williams.


H. Edward Hanway - CIGNA

Total Compensation: $12,236,740

Details: Hanway took a significant pay cut from 2007 to 2008, due mainly to a drop off of more than $11 million in his non-equity incentive plan compensation. Still, his base salary of $1,142,885 surpasses that of Aetna's Williams, and is supplemented by just over $3.6 million in option awards, and just over $820,000 in non-qualified deferred compensation earnings.

Also, nearly $21,800 in "other compensation" included the use of a company car with a driver, in-office meals, and emergency assistance services relating to medical exams.


Angela Braly - WellPoint

Total Compensation: $9,844,212

Details: Braly, like Williams, earned more money in 2008 ($9,844,212) than in 2007 (9,094,271), increasing her option rewards by nearly $1.5 million, and also receiving a $200,000-plus bump in base salary, from $922,269 to $1,135,538. Braly's stock awards dropped from $2,160,159 to $1,750,015 because, according to the SEC, "performance-based restricted stock units awarded in 2008 were cancelled because our ROE target for 2008 was not met."

Braly's "other compensation" comprised use of a private jet for her and her family on business trips, just under $10,000 for legal services relating to her employment agreement and cash credits.

The list goes on.

That's why some people are calling this America's "neo-feudalism." The idea is that there are a few people who absolutely must live in the lap of luxury, and to pay for their lifestyles working class folks with HIV have to give up the medications that keep them alive.

Everyone has to make sacrifices in this recession, but super-productive people like those described above couldn't possibly be asked to pay taxes at 1990's levels. That's just too much to ask.

There are lords and ladies and then there are peasants, and the latter's lives really don't matter to the former, but they'll whine and expect the peasants to care about the fact that they might have to pay a slightly higher marginal tax rate that still won't prevent them from buying another Picasso or another mansion at Martha's Vineyard.

Unless one accepts that some people's lives are more valuable than others', then there's no way to justify the way our economy currently functions.

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Alex its a bit more involved than that. But you do have good points. I would like to add these.

When government requested pharmaceutical companies do more to help the third world so their AIDS patients could get pills for about .25 cents a day we picked up the cost.

When the FDA bungles investigations and delays drug reviews it costs time in research and litigation in courts.

When stock holder apathy allows CEO's to run away with cash instead of them demanding accountability we get absolute corruption.

in a capitalist society there are always the rich and lavish lifestyles. What has noticeably changed is the decline in social responsibility by many of them. They used to fund hospitals, schools, grants...

Now we hear more of scams to steal from even other charities. I think we really need to look at ethics and integrity in our society to begin fixing this problem. If that were working better some of these issues would begin to decline.

Declining social responsibility is a remarkable problem among the rich. Another part of the problem is that the wealthy control more wealth and live more lavish lifestyles now than they did a few decades ago, all while paying less is taxes:

Funny, how I thought I was living in a country where the rich have repeatly used the political system to attack the poor...but I forgot how much of angels those corporate bosses were in the last century, you know, when they used to hire mercenaries to shoot their protesting workers. The myth of the socially responsible rich is just that, a myth. "The good old days" were days of starving workers living and working in deplorable conditions. Throwing back a few pennies so that you look less evil doesn't count as social responsibility.

Also, I can't be the only one who reads comments like this "in a capitalist society there are always the rich and lavish lifestyles" and feels suddenly extremely proud of being a socialist.

cat, I didn't argue one way or another. Thank you though for agreeing with my point. Ethics and integrity are important. In any system if we don't have them in place you will have corruption and abuse.

Talk about penny-wise and pound-foolish: The cost of keeping or starting HIV positive folks on medication is much, much less than the healthcare costs associated with AIDS.

Oh, and people will die because of this.

Ya think that entered into the budget discussions in Tallahassee?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | November 5, 2010 4:46 AM

In response to the Depression both Democrats and Republicans support imposing austerity measures. They have no other answer for the economic nosedive.

The same thing is happening all over the EU but with one major difference - the US lacks a mass left wing party (because of ballot restrictions) to fight back.

Obama and the Democrats have indicated that they'll continue to be in bed with the Republicans and Teabaggers on the question of cuts in social services and other austerity measures. Victims of their austerity include those who'll die from artificial shortages of HIV/AIDS drugs and imported-immigrant workers denied health care under Obama's health care scam.

And it'll include hundreds more working people killed in mines and platform explosions, which should be, but won't be, treated as murders. No one from BP, Haliburton, or Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia will ever spend a day in jail for those murders. (About 6,000 working people die on the job per year.)

And it'll include uncounted numbers of working people thrust into poverty, long term unemployment and homelessness.

This round of bogus electoral bull is over, and until 2012 when the Democrat and Republican clown cars race again we should continue the real business of working people: building unions, unemployed leagues, the GI and civilian antiwar movement and the struggle organizations of GLBT folks, women, people of color independent of our enemies in the two major parties.

This news is a bit old.....We in florida have just exceeded 2300 adap patients awaiting meds to become available to them due to funding disparities.


Below is a link to the original article appearing in the Sun-Sentinel that contains greater detail on the issue impacting Floridians.,0,5453361.story