The California senate subcommittee on health and human services on Monday rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to cap enrollment in the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program as part of budget cutting measures, the Los Angeles Times reports. If implemented, the ADAP cap would force as many as 1,400 HIV-positive people onto a waiting list for the program's lifesaving medications by the end of 2005.
State senator Wes Chesbro, speaking to a crowd of protesters outside the capitol in Sacramento, said Schwarzenegger's proposal would end up costing the state more in the long run. "It's clear this would be sending people to a lifetime of disability and eventually death," Chesbro said. "Not only is that not humane, it will cost the state money in the long run in hospitalization costs." Subcommittee members instead plan to save up to $20 million by using drug rebates for the ADAP. Other program improvements, such as allowing automatic refills of medications for up to six months, also could save as much as $800,000 in ADAP spending, Chesbro said.