Policy watch: May 2017

By now you may have heard that the House narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).  As we examine what the impact of the bill will be if it becomes law, we encourage you to email or call your Senators and urge them to reject the bill.

Health care updates on the national landscape are unfolding at a rapid pace. You can find out the latest breaking news by joining our HIV Advocacy Network. Our policy update this month focuses on what’s going on in California.

State and Local Updates

Ensuring funding for critical HIV services

In California, the budget and legislative sessions are moving forward as normal.

The California HIV Alliance, a statewide coalition of HIV organizations, is advancing a budget agenda that would benefit people living with HIV. The agenda would result in modest but strategic investments in programs to ensure access to care for people living with HIV, address the needs of people growing older with HIV, and increase the number of people who know their HIV status.

The main items proposed included in the California HIV Alliance budget agenda are: 

  • Increased funding HIV and hepatitis C testing statewide;
  • Increased provider reimbursement rates in Medi-Cal’s AIDS waiver program; and,
  • Increased funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) enrollment worker network.

The legislature has heard all of these proposed items in budget hearings over the previous two months, and the alliance is hopeful that these proposals will make it into the final budget that the legislature sends to the Governor in June.

Assembly Bill 186: Supervised injection services

San Francisco AIDS Foundation is supporting a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman and co-authored by Senator Scott Wiener, AB 186, which would allow for the establishment of supervised injection services in eight specified counties.  

What are supervised injection services?

Supervised injection services—also referred to as “safe injection facilities” or “safer consumption sites”—provide a space where people can inject controlled substances under the supervision healthcare professionals and with sterile needles and other supplies. More than 100 exist around the world in ten countries, including Canada, and they have been shown to improve the health of clients who use services, increase the number of referrals to social services including treatment programs for people who wish to enter substance use programs, and prevent overdose deaths. They have also been found to reduce safety issues associated with drug use, including public drug use, discarded syringes and HIV and hepatitis infection.

In San Francisco, Board of Supervisors President London Breed has called for the creation of a city task force to study supervised injection services with the idea that the city may become one of the first cities in the U.S. to open a site.

Want to get involved in our advocacy work? 

Subscribe today to receive Action Alerts and join our HIV Advocacy Network. You’ll receive breaking news alerts and information about how you can get involved in Washington D.C., Sacramento and San Francisco.

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