Budget to be voted on this week
RALEIGH, N.C. — The latest version of North Carolina’s state budget retains an $8 million cut in essential funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), say advocates who have been pushing against the cuts.
Advocates say it is up to Gov. Pat McCrory to fix the cuts now.
“He is the one who recommended the cut to the legislature,” said Claire Hermann, communications and programs director for the North Carolina AIDS Action Network. “If we go back to waiting lists and restricted lists of medications, he’ll be hearing from all of us.”
The program, funded jointly by state and federal dollars, is designed to assist low-income residents with purchasing medications that treat HIV. To be eligible for the program, individuals must have an HIV diagnosis and a gross income at or below 300 percent of federal poverty level.
In past years, the ADAP program had seen significant challenges, including long waiting lists for enrollment. Those waiting lists were eliminated last November, said Hermann. Additionally, the program had expanded its list of covered medications in January. Those additional drugs treated conditions that commonly accompany and complicate HIV, such as diabetes, heart disease and mental health.
“We finally had a program that worked,” Hermann said.
The state House and Senate released their compromise budget on Sunday. Legislators are scheduled to vote on the budget this week.