IN THE LOOP
The news you need to know about this week
Welcome to the latest edition of our update on the news you need to know and how it affects you and the communities we serve. Every couple of weeks we send out an e-mail featuring important updates (you can sign up below!). As always, thank you for your support of APLA Health, and please share this with others who may be interested.
Join Us at Long Beach Pride!
We will be at Long Beach Pride this weekend and hope you’ll get a chance to say hello at either our APLA Health or Fuerza Positiva festival booths, or join us on Sunday morning for the Pride parade. For more information on Long Beach Pride, visit longbeachpride.com.
The AHCA Isn’t Health Care. It’s a Tax Refund for the Rich.
Call your senator. Tell her or him to either fix the bill or kill it:
Toll free: 866.220.0044 or 877.736.7831 (Spanish)
Did the turmoil in Washington, D.C., make you forget about health care already? The Republican American Health Care Act passed the House of Representatives on May 4 and is now in the hands of the Senate. The measure is worse than the first edition (which failed to pass the House), but fulfills the Republicans’ promise to “repeal” the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The AHCA cuts nearly a trillion dollars in taxes that support the ACA, providing enormous tax relief for the wealthy; some say this is the real rationale behind the bill. It also strips health coverage from some 24 million Americans; makes health insurance unattainable or unaffordable for people with pre-existing conditions; cuts billions of dollars from the Medicaid program, the nation’s public health insurance for low-income individuals; reduces protections for employees on company health coverage; and undermines the stability of the Medicare trust fund.
“APLA Health understands the need for affordable and accessible health coverage for all Americans,” APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig E. Thompson says. “Unfortunately, the AHCA passed by congressional Republicans would destroy the expansion of health coverage we have enjoyed under the ACA and cause millions of people to lose their health insurance. Congress and the Trump Administration said there was a better way to provide health care, and they had nine years to come up with a plan. They failed, and have given us tax relief for the rich instead. It’s now up to the Senate and they need to hear from voters: Either fix the bill or kill it.”
APLA Health Addresses HIV and Aging in Los Angeles County
APLA Health recently conducted a study on aging with HIV in Los Angeles County called the Healthy Living Project, in collaboration with California State University, Dominguez Hills, and the AIDS Coordinator’s Office of the City of Los Angeles. The goal of the study is to educate planning bodies and the public health department to create informed policies that promote stability, independence, and positive health outcomes among older adults living with HIV in Los Angeles County.
As part of the study, the team led focus group discussions with five priority populations: men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender women, cisgender women, heterosexual men, and monolingual Spanish speakers who are over 50 years of age and living with HIV. The groups discussed barriers and challenges that older adults living with HIV experience, including support service gaps and programs and activities that could assist this population with managing the psychosocial and physical complexities of aging with HIV.
Last week at the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV meeting, three APLA Health team members presented findings from the study and engaged in a conversation about how to improve social services for people living with HIV over 50 years of age. The study found that older adults living with HIV experience housing, transportation, and financial instability, poorer health outcomes, lack of job opportunities, lack of targeted social support groups, trauma and stigma, and lack of care for other chronic and co-morbid diseases. The study recommended that Los Angeles County include older people living with HIV in planning programs that are targeted, geographically accessible, inclusive, affordable, and collaborative.
APLA Health is committed to achieving health care equity and well-being for the populations we serve, and our Government Affairs team will use these findings in our policy advocacy for older adults living with HIV in Los Angeles County.
HIV/LGBT Advocates Head to Sacramento for Lobby Day
Earlier this week, more than 200 HIV and LGBT advocates convened in Sacramento for a lobby day at the State Capitol. Advocates met with state legislators and their staff about a number of issues important to the HIV and LGBT communities including criminal justice reform, health care, education, and transgender rights. One of the main bills discussed was SB 239 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Todd Gloria (D-San Diego). The bill seeks to modernize several outdated and discriminatory laws that criminalize people living with HIV by addressing exposure to HIV in the same manner as other serious communicable diseases and incorporating the current scientific understanding of HIV. The bill recently passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee. APLA Health is one of several co-sponsors of the legislation.
Participants in the lobby day also advocated for increased funding for HIV testing and linkage to care services and the AIDS Waiver Program. The AIDS Waiver Program helps some of the most fragile Californians living with HIV stay in their homes and avoid more costly institutional settings by providing case management and in-home supportive services. Unfortunately, the program has been severely underfunded for over a decade, and many people living with HIV across the state do not have access to these much needed services. APLA Health has operated the AIDS Waiver program since its inception in 1989. We’ll keep you updated as these proposals advance through the legislative process.
Stay in the loop!
We will send you regular updates on issues and policies affecting the LGBT and/or HIV communities and urge you to call or e-mail your representatives about key political activity at the local, state, and federal levels.