Today, 1.2 million Americans living with HIV is the crisis of access to affordable drugs. One of the great moral issues of our day is that people with HIV and AIDS are suffering and, in some cases, dying in America because they can’t afford to pay the outrageous prices being charged for the medicine they need to live. I will fight for the following policies to right this wrong:
Universal Healthcare. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. To truly ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care, we need to fight for a Medicare-for-all, single payer system. Until that happens, we must make sure insurance companies and providers are not discriminating against those with HIV/AIDS, including when it comes to drug coverage.
Expand the substance use and mental health services for people living with HIV/AIDS and at risk for HIV. We need to build on the implementation of President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy by significantly expanding access to mental health and substance use disorder services by protecting and expanding community health centers, which provide key behavioral health and substance abuse services to more than 1.3 million patients. We must also support access to mental health services at community mental health centers.
Expanding the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. We need to fight to expand the highly successful Ryan White HIV/AIDS program which provides HIV-related services for those who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources. It was unacceptable that at the height of the Wall Street crash, many states had long waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. Especially when so many people were losing their jobs and their life savings, people should not have had to wait for the life-saving treatment they needed.
Expand civil rights protections to all LGBTQIA+ individuals and those living with HIV/AIDS. In the year 2016, it is unacceptable that a person could be fired or denied housing in many states based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or health status.
Expanding the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and ending the AIDS epidemic. We need to fight to end the AIDS epidemic by doubling the number of people on HIV treatment worldwide by 2020. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been an incredibly successful program, currently supporting antiretroviral treatment for more than 9.5 million people. But that is only a fraction of those worldwide who need treatment. More than 22 million people with HIV/AIDS do not have access to the medicine and support services they need.
Stopping bad trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would substantially increase prices for HIV/AIDS drugs. A major reason why the fight against the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is important is because it would significantly increase prices for HIV/AIDS drugs for some of the most desperate people in the world. At a time when prescription drug prices are skyrocketing, the TPP would make a bad situation even worse by granting new monopoly rights to big pharmaceutical companies to deny access to lower cost generic drugs to millions of people.