WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A bill to allow states to provide Medicaid coverage to HIV patients who are not disabled has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
The measure is sponsored by Sens. Gordon Smith, D-Ore., and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and is known as the Early Treatment for HIV Act. The legislation, which was sent to the Senate Finance Committee, calls for a shift in Medicaid policy, which requires patients with HIV be disabled to qualify for Medicaid benefits.
The bill is supported by the Treatment Access Expansion Project, a group that include the HIV/AIDS community, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical interests.
Robert Greenwald, TAEP director, said in a statement: "New HIV treatments have successfully improved both the health and quality of life for many people living with this disease. However, without access to early intervention healthcare, these advances remain out of reach for thousands of poor and low-income, pre-disabled persons living with HIV."
TAEP said the bill, which has bipartisan support, is modeled after the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Treatment Act of 2000, which allows states to provide early access to treatment for Medicaid eligible women with cancer.