Nebraska once again has an enormous opportunity to not only deal a knockout blow to HIV, but to level the healthcare playing field for thousands of low income Nebraskans. It’s time to close the Medicaid gap.
On January 20th, State Senator Kathy Campbell (Lincoln) introduced LB 472, a bill to close the Medicaid gap and allow healthcare coverage to the more than 54,000 uninsured, low income Nebraskans, including many people living with HIV. All of us at Nebraska AIDS Project want to thank Senator Campbell, and all her co-sponsors, for putting forth this legislation. We urge you to contact your State Senator and ask them to support LB 472. Find your Senator HERE.
WHY LB 472 IS SO IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE WITH HIV
There’s a catch-22 when it comes to HIV and Medicaid. Current law requires people living with HIV to wait until they are disabled to qualify. Wouldn’t it make sense, and save a lot of money, if we treat people before they become disabled and prevent them from becoming disabled? Closing the Medicaid gap for people living with HIV will do exactly that. Early treatment not only prevents transmission – it’s cost effective.
Closing the Medicaid gap in Nebraska would be a major victory for people living with HIV and countless others who have been shut out of the current health insurance market. LB 472 remedies one of the cruel realities of the AIDS crisis by allowing Medicaid access to low income, non-disabled people living with HIV.
Closing the gap ensures access to the reliable health coverage that people living with HIV need to seek and maintain continuous care, without the stress of interruptions in their care caused by inadequate coverage or an inability to pay. Research shows that, with early access to HIV treatment, people stay healthier and are 96% less likely to transmit the virus to others.
Recent headlines underscore the necessity of increased access to care for people living with HIV. Just last week, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published research showing 91% of new HIV infections stem from people not receiving HIV care.
States that have closed the Medicaid gap achieved tremendous progress fighting HIV/AIDS. Almost two-thirds of people living with HIV in Massachusetts have the illness fully controlled.
WHAT IS MEDICAID?
Medicaid is a federal and state partnership program providing health care to certain groups of people who meet eligibility requirements. Right now in Nebraska, Medicaid is only open to certain people who have a low income and fall into these groupings – children, pregnant women, aged, blind and disabled persons, and some very low income parents.
More Medicaid Basics Here (Courtesy of our friends over at Nebraska Appleseed )
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Want to help? It’s easy! Send an email to your State Senator and ask them to support LB 472. Find your Senator’s contact info here.
Thursday, March 19th is “Close the Coverage Gap – Lobby Day for LB 472”! Please join advocates from all across the state to fight for LB 472. Info here!
Here are some resources you can use to advocate for closing the gap!
When LB 472 passes, it will be a great day for Nebraskans living with HIV and we will be one step closer to ending AIDS once and for all!
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