The U.S. Senate passed an amendment by Senators Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) as part of the 2009 Budget Resolution which creates a reserve fund to expand access to vital medical services for low-income HIV-positive individuals. The amendment was based on the senators' Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA) which provides states the ability to extend Medicaid coverage to low-income, HIV-positive individuals before they develop AIDS.
"Across our great nation, far too many people with HIV/AIDS are going without necessary treatment due to financial constraints," said Senator Smith. "It is important that we help these individuals receive proper care so they can live a healthier and longer life. I am committed to working with Senator Clinton and my colleagues in the Senate to ensure this bill becomes a reality. I am hopeful that these funds will support states in delivering care to those individuals that need it most."
"Over a million Americansincluding over 100,000 in New Yorkare living with HIV or AIDS, and no one should go without treatment regardless of their circumstances. This measure is a step toward ensuring that individuals are receiving vital care, and ETHA provides resources to low-income patients to combat this illness in its crucial early stages, before they grow sicker and require costlier care," said Senator Clinton.
ETHA was developed to supplement safety-net programs across the country that treat individuals with HIV/AIDS. In several cases, these initiatives are running out of money, and as a consequence, they are generally unable to cover all of the people who need assistance paying for their medical care. ETHA provides states with another way to reach out to low-income, HIV-positive individuals and offer health care coverage.