SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After President Trump pledged to work to end HIV transmissions by 2030 during his State of the Union address, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara joined Equality California in calling on the White House to take concrete steps to expand access to quality, affordable health care and lifesaving medication in order to reach the goal.
Commissioner Lara is the first openly LGBTQ statewide elected official in California history and is responsible for regulating health insurance for Californians.
“I am all-in to make the White House’s goal of ending HIV transmissions by 2030 a reality,” said Lara. “Ensuring every American has access to health care needs to be part of the plan, especially for the LGBTQ+ community where coverage gaps remain despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act. In California we have reduced the uninsured to a record low 7 percent. Yet across the country LGBTQ+ Americans are still twice as likely to be uninsured – and the numbers are even worse for people of color and those living in poverty. If President Trump is serious about ending HIV transmissions, he should work to eliminate these disparities by encouraging states to expand Medicaid and safeguard spending for HIV/AIDS research.”
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization.
“The president’s actions will speak louder than his words, and we intend to hold him accountable,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “Certainly, if the White House is truly committed to eliminating HIV in 10 years — a commitment we welcome — then he’ll have no better ally than Speaker Pelosi, who has spent her entire career working to end the HIV epidemic. We stand ready and willing to do the real work it will take to accomplish this goal.”
Commissioner Lara and Equality California called on the White House to take the following initial actions:
Rescind the president’s proposed $35 million in cuts to the CDC’s domestic HIV/AIDS research and prevention budget;
Work to expand affordable healthcare coverage and protections for people living with HIV, rather than rolling them back through “regulatory relief” that allows for skimpy coverage and permits providers to discriminate against LGBTQ patients;
Instruct the U.S. Department of Justice to withdraw its argument in the lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people living with pre-existing conditions, including HIV, that those protections are unconstitutional;
Reinstate the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, the National AIDS Plan and the National Office of AIDS Policy — and appoint a new coordinator to run the Office; and
Instruct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to rescind their proposed rule change that would take away prescription drug policies that protect access to antiretroviral medications for people aging with HIV.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org