Director of Communications
June 4, 2017
This Year Is Different
If the Trumpcare health bill and a breathtakingly callous budget pass, it would spell disaster
It’s June. Historically, that means many major cities around the country, including Los Angeles, are gearing up for Pride celebrations that commemorate the LGBTQ community’s hard-won gains and celebrate how far we’ve come.
This year is different.
While the Trump presidency has ushered in an era where the only constant is that there is no telling what’s going to happen next, the Administration’s newly released 2018 budget tells us exactly what they intend: massive cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs; huge reductions in funding for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and STD prevention; devastating cuts to other social safety net programs including Meals on Wheels, Social Security Disability Insurance, low-income home-heating energy assistance, subsidized housing, family planning centers worldwide, and more.
That is exactly why APLA Health is taking part in the Resist March on the morning of Sunday, June 11, as the centerpiece of LA Pride the weekend of June 9-11. The Resist March will coincide with the Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington, D.C., as well as marches, rallies, and demonstrations taking place in more than 50 other cities across the country. It promises to be a historic day. We need to be there, and so do you.
The Trump budget released May 23 proposes a major restructuring of the Medicaid program, capping federal spending in the program for the first time ever to achieve a savings over $610 billion over the next decade. Combined with congressional efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the budget would strip health coverage from more than 24 million people nationwide. In California alone, some 6 million would lose access to coverage and care.
The budget slashes $59 million from the Ryan White Program and more than $1 billion from U.S. global AIDS funding. These reductions will end the progress we have made in reducing new HIV infections and providing care and treatment worldwide and will deny some 19 million people living with HIV access to life-saving medications. The New York Times has reported that as many as 1 million people in sub-Saharan Africa could die as a result of the cuts to global AIDS funding.
These cuts would erase the hard-fought gains we’ve made over the last seven years to improve the health and lives of thousands. APLA Health and many other organizations like us cannot simply raise funds to cover the money we’d lose if that happens. We would be forced to turn the people who need us most away.
We are literally fighting for our lives.
Does that sound familiar? It should. For those of us who have been on the front lines of the fight against HIV and AIDS for the last 36 years, we know what happens when our elected officials turn their backs on fragile populations that most need help.
When we first opened our doors, we were helping people with AIDS die with dignity. Today, we have continued the fight against HIV by providing free and low-cost health care services to the entire LGBTQ community and HIV support services that help us thrive. Healthier people mean healthier communities and a healthier country. It means an end to AIDS. It means battling successfully against poverty, stigma, and discrimination.
Some individuals have suggested that the Resist March is a protest. We see it as an affirmation of our unity and a declaration that we will not go back to a time when we literally left people to die. The organizers of the March have themselves stated the following about the event: “We resist forces that would divide us. We resist those who would take our liberty. We resist homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, sexism, and racism.”
We are marching on June 11 to say that our future should include health care for everyone and an end to HIV/AIDS. We are marching to make our voices heard, loud and clear, alongside our friends, families, and allies. We are marching because health care is a human right.
We look forward to seeing you there.
For information on the Resist March, please visit www.resistmarch.org.
APLA Health’s mission is to achieve health care equity and promote well-being for the LGBT and other underserved communities and people living with and affected by HIV. We are a nonprofit, federally qualified health center serving more than 14,000 people annually. We provide 20 different services from 14 locations throughout Los Angeles County, including: medical, dental, and behavioral health care; PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home health care; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impacts the LGBT and HIV communities, provide capacity-building assistance to health departments across the country, and conduct community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. For more information, please visit us at aplahealth.org.