In her speech, Secretary Sebelius talked about the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and HHS’ plans to concentrate funding in the communities most at-risk for HIV. She said, “If you’re a white, heterosexual woman like me, your chances of being infected by HIV/AIDS are very low – just 1 in 50,000. But if you’re a gay Hispanic man, your chances are 350 times higher. In some U.S. cities, it’s estimated that almost half of all gay black men are HIV-positive.”
The Secretary highlighted that HHS has committed $30 million from the new Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act, “a law that enshrines a fundamental principle: that all Americans should have access to affordable health care, regardless of their health status" to support new and existing HIV prevention efforts.
She also explained that these funds will “allow us to focus on the communities and geographic areas that have been hardest hit by this disease. And we recently updated our budget request for next year to request $35 million for these essential prevention efforts”.
In addition the Secretary discussed how the Affordable Care Act, will impact the HIV community in the following ways:
- Expanding of Medicaid: “It will expand Medicaid and for those Americans who don’t qualify for Medicaid and don’t get insurance through their job, we’ll create a new health care marketplace where plans will be forbidden from denying people coverage based on a medical condition”.
- Pre-existing Conditions Insurance Plans: “As a stop-gap until this marketplace is created in 2014, the new law creates Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans in every state where uninsured Americans with chronic conditions who had previously been shut out of our health insurance system will be able to get coverage”.
- Investment in healthcare workforce: “Getting more doctors and nurses in underserved communities and making sure they have the cultural competency to communicate with and care for their patients“.
Interested in learning more about what Secretary Sebelius had to say at USCA? Please read her full speech or watch the video below where HHS’ Dr. Ron Valdiserri interviews the Secretary about her take-away messages from her presentation. Attending USCA? We hope to connect with you there, if we have not done so already through these activities.