The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), released by the U.S. Senate last week, doesn’t appear to provide “better care” for anyone except the very wealthy, for whom it will provide hefty tax cuts. And it certainly won’t equal better care for the approximately 45,033 Californians living with HIV who are currently dependent on Medi-Cal to cover the cost of medications that enables them to achieve viral suppression, which both improves their health and prevents new infections.
A similar bill passed in May by the U.S. House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), will cut Medicaid nationwide by $834 billion over 10 years, and the proposed BCRA would radically restructure the Medicaid program. Ultimately, these combined changes would result in a massive fiscal shift from the federal government to the states, and add billions in additional costs to the state of California.
“Simply put, the Better Care Reconciliation Act would wreak havoc on people living with HIV in California and the state’s Medi-Cal program,” said APLA Health Chief Executive Officer, Craig E. Thompson, in a press release. “Eliminating nearly $1 trillion nationwide from the Medicaid program would mean worse health care, poorer health outcomes, and more new infections. The bill would make it impossible to end the HIV epidemic in this country.”
This information comes from a fact sheet released this week from the California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers (CHPRC), a state organization focused on progress in prevention, education, care, treatment, and a cure for HIV/AIDS. The fact sheet emphasizes that limits on Medicaid financing and coverage would have a detrimental impact on California’s efforts to provide care and treatment for people living with HIV and to reduce new HIV infections. The CHPRC this will help policymakers to understand the threats the BCRA poses to people living with HIV and other vulnerable communities in California.