By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com October 15 2002 12:00 AM ET
A report by the Common Sense Foundation shows that North Carolina's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides medication assistance to HIV-positive people with no health insurance and who do not qualify for Medicaid, has the toughest eligibility requirements and the longest waiting list in the country. To qualify for the ADAP, North Carolina residents who live alone must earn $11,075 or less per year. And yet even with this strict requirement, North Carolina has the longest ADAP waiting list in the country with nearly 700 people, more than half of the nation's total number of people waiting for ADAP access. The foundation is urging the state to eliminate the waiting list and to relax eligibility requirements, moves that it says would cost about $20 million per year.
"The vast majority of people who suffer from HIV/AIDS are people of color," said David Mills, the foundation's research director. "We think that may have something to do with why this problem hasn't gotten as much attention as it deserves."
But conservatives in the state oppose any changes to the program. "Why should people who are careful and not sexually promiscuous have to subsidize people who are?" asked Roy Cordato, vice president for research at the John Locke Foundation. "There's a moral question here. Shouldn't people bear the consequences of their actions?"