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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Bill Nelson co-authors op-ed for 'POLITICO' with . . . Sir Elton John



Elton John has penned many a duet, and today he adds one with Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. It's a joint op-ed for POLITICO titled, "Life-and-death power of AIDs funding."

Last year, Steven Dimmick, 31, sold his car and home in Jacksonville, Fla., then filed for bankruptcy protection. He needed cash to purchase the drugs that keep him from dying of AIDS.

Dimmick was one of the 9,039 low-income Americans living with HIV/AIDS who are on waiting lists to receive medication through public AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. These are people with families and jobs — productive citizens. But they lack health insurance. And they don’t make enough to afford lifesaving drugs.

Some have died waiting.

All 50 states now have assistance programs for people with low income, living with the disease. But, in an increasing number, the need for these medications is greater than federal and state funding. As a result, 13 states have already reduced the amount of drugs offered – and increased the number of people on waiting lists.

Things now look as if they are about to get much worse. Many states facing severe budget shortfalls are considering plans to drastically cut eligibility. Florida — with the nation’s longest waiting list at more than 3,900 people — is proposing changes in eligibility that would not only leave more people like Dimmick on the waiting list but cut off more than 1,600 from the program.

Read the whole column here.

[Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:58pm]


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