California lawmakers criticize Schwarzenegger's AIDS funding cuts
Twenty-two California Democrats in Congress wrote to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week to criticize his plans to reduce funding for HIV prevention and treatment programs in the state by 2% in his fiscal 2004-2005 budget, the Oakland Tribune reports. The budget also recommends capping enrollment in the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which could force as many as 1,400 HIV-positive people who need antiretroviral medications onto a waiting list for the program. "Individuals who are denied treatment and placed on a waiting list for services will undoubtedly turn to our already strained public health system for care as they struggle to cope with opportunistic infections that will eventually take their life," the letter said. They pledged to work to increase federal funding for the nation's ADAPs to help alleviate the budget shortfall in California and elsewhere. The lawmakers also criticized Schwarzenegger's plan to reduce reimbursements for Medi-Cal providers by 10% and charge Medi-Cal patients premiums for some services.