A Real Treatment Booster


April 27 2007 12:00 AM ET

Two U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would allow individual states the option of providing Medicaid coverage to their low-income HIV-positive residents, and the bill would provide enhanced funding for the states that choose to implement the expansion.
Currently, most HIVers must qualify as disabled under the Social Security definition to become eligible for Medicaid benefits. If passed, the new law would allow low-income HIVers to access the federally defined standard of HIV care by giving them treatment and care before they become sick.

Experts say that such expanded access to health care'if the current conditions of the Early Treatment for HIV Act, sponsored by Gordon Smith, a Republican from Oregon, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democrat from New York, become law'would reduce the death rate of HIVers on Medicaid by 50% over 10 years.

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