The fiscal 2003 California budget signed by Gov. Gray Davis earlier this month does not include a proposed change to the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program that would have forced ADAP clients to pay for a portion of their anti-HIV medications, reports the Bay Area Reporter. The co-payment proposal was floated by some lawmakers in earlier budget discussions as a way to help reduce the $38 billion budget deficit facing the state. The approved budget boosts state ADAP spending by $27 million to $211 million, an increase that when matched with federal funds allows the program to continue operating without curtailing access for new clients or implementing a co-pay component. AIDS activists, however, worry that the idea could be resurrected next year as lawmakers grapple with how to reduce an estimated $8 billion budget shortfall in the fiscal 2004 budget.
"The legislature is so clearly hostile to this idea of charging ADAP clients, but that could change," Dana Van Gorder, San Francisco AIDS Foundation's state policy director, told the Reporter. "It just depends on how bad the budget is next year."