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NCPS Outraged at HIV/AIDS Medi-Cal Cuts
Date:9/9/2008

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses (NCPS) is outraged at the proposed cuts to the HIV/AIDS Medi-Cal pilot program which was designed to help provide life-sustaining medications for thousands of Californians living with HIV/AIDS. These cuts are especially troubling in light of recent studies demonstrating that these pharmacy services significantly improve the patients' ability to adhere to their often-confusing drug regimen process, and eliminates one less obstacle in the daily struggle of a person living with HIV/AIDS. Many of these are people of color who live in underserved areas of major cities in California.

Former President Bill Clinton recently noted that "our country is experiencing the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s and that American families are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage." He further noted the immediate need to garner efforts in the battle against HIV/AIDS, not only abroad... but in our own backyard.

These proposed cuts to the Medi-Cal by the California State Assembly would only endanger disenfranchised patients -- especially HIV patients who are dependent on these services, as pharmacies will be forced to stop filling needed prescriptions.

Pastors' spouses, and others in faith communities, cannot applaud the California legislative leadership for agreeing to restore funding for physicians and hospitals at the expense of hopeless patients. We strongly urge the California State Assembly to seek equitable restoration of pharmacy rates for HIV/AIDS drugs and restore the successful Medi-Cal program currently in place for California HIV/AIDS patients.

Let it be further understood that if these cuts to the Medi-Cal program are allowed, a health crisis of major magnitude will occur, and many of these patients will develop drug resistance from not taking their HIV medications. The resulting costs would eclipse any savings the state might realize by making cuts to this program, said Vivian Berryhill, President and founder of the National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses.

The National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses is a nonprofit, nonpartisan multi-denominational network of 2500+ clergy spouses committed to raising awareness and addressing health disparities across this nation.


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SOURCE National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses
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