Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Slacker Tuesday

Too busy to write anything original today, here's an e-mail I got. You know what to do! (Hit the link right under Chimpy.)

Dear Member of Congress:

We are writing as members of the HIV Medicare and Medicaid Working Group (HMMWG) to offer our strong support for H.R. 1424, The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007. HMMWG represents more than 80 national and community-based organizations from across the country and includes people living with HIV/AIDS, medical providers, advocates and program administrators that deliver HIV-related healthcare and support services. We strongly support the fundamental principle embraced in the legislation that mental illness, alcoholism and drug addiction are medical conditions that should be covered by insurance plans in a fashion comparable to coverage for other medical conditions.

Mental illness and addiction are common conditions in persons who are HIV-infected in the U.S. These conditions, if not effectively treated, can undermine the ability of persons with HIV/AIDS to access and fully participate in the medical treatment that is essential to arrest HIV disease progression and restore individuals to health. Moreover, untreated mental illness and addiction place individuals at high risk for acquiring HIV by making it more likely that they will engage in high risk sexual behavior and/or share injection drug equipment. From the perspective of the HIV community, mental health and addiction services are both essential components of comprehensive health care for persons living with HIV as well as a critical primary prevention strategy to reduce HIV transmission.

The provisions of H.R. 1424 would help assure that persons living with or at risk for HIV infection who are insured in the private insurance market have adequate coverage for mental health services and alcohol or drug treatment. We believe that H.R. 1424 offers the most effective legislative option currently pending before the Congress. In particular, we support the legislation’s requirements that ensure that coverage is available for a broad range of mental health and addiction disorders; impose penalties on health plans for non-compliance; require parity for out-of-network benefits for mental health and substance-related disorders with comparable benefits offered for medical and surgical conditions; and explicitly allow stronger state protections for coverage of these conditions to prevail.

We urge you to proceed rapidly to move this legislation through committee and on to the House floor; so that persons in the private market, including those living with and at risk for HIV infection, have access to the coverage they need to access care for these treatable medical conditions.
Please contact Christine Lubinski with the HIV Medicine Association at (703)-299-1215 for further information.


[List in formation]
AIDS Action, Wash, DC
AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families, Wash, DC
AIDS Foundation of Chicago, IL
The AIDS Institute, Washington, DC
AIDS Project, Los Angeles, CA
American Academy of HIV Medicine, Wash, DC
Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, Providence, RI
Gay Men’s Health Crisis, New York, NY
Health and Disability Advocates, Chicago, IL
HIV Medicine Association, Arlington, VA
Housing Works, New York, NY
Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Inc.
Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Seattle, WA
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, Wash, DC
National Association of People With AIDS, Silver Spring, MD
National Health Law Program, Los Angeles, CA
National Minority AIDS Council, Wash, DC
New York AIDS Coalition
Project Inform, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco AIDS Foundation, CA
Title II Community AIDS National Network, Wash, DC
Treatment Access Expansion Project, Boston, MA

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