Washington, DC --- Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the lead co-sponsor of the Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA). The bill, if enacted, would give states the option of providing Medicaid coverage to pre-disabled people living with HIV. This would represent a major shift in current Medicaid policy with significant health, economic and public health benefits.
ETHA addresses a cruel irony in the current Medicaid system that under current Medicaid rules people must become disabled by AIDS before they can receive access to Medicaid provided care and treatment that could have prevented them from becoming so ill in the first place.
ETHA brings Medicaid eligibility rules in line with Federal government guidelines on the standard of care for treating HIV. ETHA helps address the fact that increasingly, in many parts of the country, there are growing waiting lists for access to life saving medications and limited to no access to comprehensive health care for HIV patients.
The bill was introduced in the House today, Thursday, February 26, 2004 by Congressman James Leach (R-IA). The Senate has similar legislation pending before it as S847.
Said Ros-Lehtinen, "I am proud to be a lead co-sponsor of this legislation because ETHA will save lives and it will be built upon Congress's successful efforts to improve early intervention care. Increased quality of life and gains in life years for people living with HIV should be a top priority for every Member in the House and the Senate. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this important health care reform legislation. "