AIDS United’s Statement on President Trump’s Budget for FY 2018

AIDS United is shocked by President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request released today. It threatens to roll back the progress in the fight against the domestic HIV epidemic. Now more than ever we must maintain and strengthen our progress towards our national goals and priorities of reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.

The deep proposed cuts to domestic HIV and STD prevention cannot be reconciled with the goal of preventing new HIV transmissions and the rising rates of STDs. The proposed $59 million cut to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, coupled with a fundamental restructuring of the Medicaid program capping federal spending for the first time to the tune of a $610 million funding reduction over the next decade, diminishes every community’s ability to deliver quality health care to people living with HIV by eliminating AIDS Education and Training Centers and Special Programs of National Significance (SPNS).

“AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs) are essential to the HIV care continuum and the success of the national goals and priorities to end the epidemic,” said AIDS United President & CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. “AETCs assure that providers know and apply the best standards of care for people living with and at risk for HIV.”

Further, AIDS United is particularly concerned that the President’s budget eliminates SPNS and reduces funding for Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) programs. SPNS and MAI programs address the HIV epidemic by developing targeted, innovative approaches to reach chronically underserved people.

“Investment in targeted approaches are effective and save money, at a time when 1 in 2 and 1 in 4 Black and Latino gay and bisexual men respectively are at substantial risk for HIV infection in their lifetime. How can we reduce funding to programs that address these disparities? The President’s budget isn’t just a set of numbers, it’s a disturbing statement of values. Every voter must send their own message to Congress to express that they value the health of our people,” said Milan.

AIDS United urges Congress to reject the draconian cuts proposed in the President’s budget request and support funding for Medicaid, HIV programs, and STD prevention. Congress cannot idly allow the return of reduced, sequester discretionary spending caps for fiscal year 2018. These restrictive caps must be raised so that non-defense discretionary programs, which include HIV programs, can be adequately funded in fiscal year 2018. A bipartisan budget agreement that provides relief from the sequester spending caps while preserving parity between defense and non-defense discretionary programs must be achieved for 2018.

“The president’s budget would turn back the clock for years and years on progress to end the HIV epidemic. We call on Congress to keep the country moving forward,” said Milan.

The facts are in – TrumpCare is dangerous and destructive

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has finally released their report on TrumpCare, the bill that passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4. Yeah. You read that right. The U.S. House passed TrumpCare before they knew what it cost or how it would affect health insurance.

And now we know why. The facts are clear. The American Health Care Act is dangerous and destructive.

The CBO tells us that the bill will strip 23 million people of their health insurance. We already knew that the bill completely guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions and makes devastating cuts to Medicaid. All while providing massive tax cuts to the wealthy and giant corporations.

But the fight is not over. The Senate now has to pass a bill, and it will then likely have to go to back to the House for a final vote.

WE CAN STILL STOP THIS.

Here are three things you can do NOW to make your voice heard:

Call Gov. Rauner at 312-814-2121 and demand that he publicly oppose the American Health Care Act, which will cost Illinois billions of dollars in Medicaid funding and thousands of jobs.
Call your member of Congress at 1-866-877-3303 and demand that they publicly oppose the American Health Care Act.
Forward this immediately to 10 friends and family members in Illinois, especially if they live outside of Chicago. You can also share these steps on social media using #ilsaveaca
We have asked a lot of you, but it is only because you are making a difference. Your Member of Congress is crucial in this fight and they need to hear from you again!

Celebrating the Legacy of AmeriCorps

This summer, the AIDS United AmeriCorps program drew to a close after 22 years. Over the years, the program trained and placed over 800 AmeriCorps Members in HIV-focused community-based organizations, where they gained frontline experience in the fight against HIV. I consider myself fortunate to have been one of these Members.

My experience in the AIDS United AmeriCorps program was formative. In addition to developing my understanding of the HIV epidemic and its surrounding stigmas and disparities, the program was the start of my career in public health and the beginning of lifelong friendships. More recently, as the manager of this program, I had the privilege to meet and learn from dozens of passionate people united to make a difference in the HIV epidemic.

The legacy of the AIDS United AmeriCorps program demonstrates that anyone can make change. Seemingly small actions like taking extra the time during a counseling session to answer questions, organizing a community cleanup, or simply lending an ear can have a profound effect on both AmeriCorps members and the people and community they serve. Multiply this by almost one thousand members over 20+ years and these individual actions have created a movement.

A look back at what has been accomplished is monumental. In 20+ years over 800 members:

  • served over 1.4 million service hours,
  • conducted over 100,000 HIV tests, and
  • reached almost 500,000 people through education and outreach.

Each number represents a life changed. It’s people seeking HIV treatment for the first time, learning their HIV status, or being linked to supportive services.

Even after they complete their service, a majority of program alumni work in community-based organizations, medicine, and social services agencies. Many, specifically work in HIV. Their contributions to the fight against HIV are critical. We have the tools to end the epidemic, but it will take persistent work to counter the stigma and disparities that fuel this epidemic. Knowing there is a cohort of AmeriCorps alumni engaged in the movement makes me hopeful that we will get there.

Aministration launches new campaign to enroll young adults during Open Enrollment

Date

2016-09-27
Title
Administration launches new campaign to enroll young adults during Open Enrollment
Contact
press@cms.hhs.gov

Administration launches new campaign to enroll young adults during Open Enrollment
New outreach platforms, better mobile experience, and strong partners will help reach young adults

Today, as the White House convenes the Millennial Outreach and Enrollment Summit, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced additional initiatives to reach young adults during Open Enrollment and help them find affordable coverage through HealthCare.gov. Young adults had the highest uninsured rates before the Affordable Care Act and have seen the sharpest drop in uninsured rates since 2010. Yet millions of young adults remain uninsured, showing that there is more work to do to equip younger Americans with the tools and information they need to access coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Today, we are announcing new strategies, new tools, and new partnerships to reach young people and help them get covered.

More than 9 in 10 Marketplace-eligible young adults without health insurance have incomes that could qualify them for tax credits to make plans affordable, but that fact hasn’t fully penetrated the millennial community, and we want to change that,” said Kevin Counihan, HealthCare.gov CEO. “This year, we’ll be using new tactics and strategies to reach young adults where they are and deliver the message that they have affordable coverage options. These new tactics will both benefit young Americans and strengthen the Marketplace risk pool.”

New Digital Platforms

For the first time, Open Enrollment outreach will take advantage of online platforms that cater almost exclusively to young adults. Today, we are announcing the first of these new efforts: outreach utilizing Twitch, a social video platform and community for gamers. This effort will feature HealthCare.gov pre-roll before videos, a homepage takeover, and ongoing efforts with streamers on Twitch to amplify our message throughout Open Enrollment. Twitch currently attracts close to 10 million daily active users who, on average, spend 106 minutes per person per day on the site. According to ComScore, Twitch’s core demographic of 18-34 year-olds have above average uninsured rates.

Mobile 2.0

According to ComScore, 1 in 5 millennials access the internet exclusively through mobile devices. Last year, consumers could easily enroll in coverage at HealthCare.gov through mobile devices, but if they wanted to actually shop around and compare plans, the mobile interface could be difficult and time consuming. This year, consumers will find an end-to-end, mobile optimized experience, including a new state-of-the-art shopping process that for the first time offers improved ability to comparison shop on their phone or tablet. Rather than clicking on tiny boxes or zooming in on hard-to-read screens, consumers will now find intuitive navigation and a streamlined interface to compare plans.

Targeted and Coordinated Partner Campaigns

During 2017 Open Enrollment, CMS and stakeholders will organize a young adult social media outreach campaign under one umbrella: #HealthyAdulting. As part of this coordinated campaign, longstanding Open Enrollment partners will be stepping up their social media engagement and will coordinate with each other to maximize the impact of that social media work in driving enrollment. CMS will be joining with partners to communicate with young people on the digital platforms they prefer – including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr – and engaging in a conversation under a unified #HealthyAdulting message about issues young people care about, whether that’s mental health, women’s wellness, reproductive health, or diabetes prevention.

Together, partners in the #HealthyAdulting campaign reach almost five million social media followers, meaning trusted voices will be raising awareness about Open Enrollment among young adults. Participating organizations include: The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Diabetes Association, American Hospital Association, American Medical Student Association,  the League of United Latin American Citizens, Mental Health America, Autism Speaks, March of Dimes, Mocha Moms, My Halal Kitchen, National Council of La Raza,  National Action Network, National Partnership for Women & Families, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Women’s Law Center, Out2Enroll, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Raising Women’s Voices, Truth Initiative, the United Methodist Church, and Young Invincibles. Specific social media activities our partners are planning include:

  • National Council of La Raza will engage their 56,600 Twitter followers by hosting a twitter storm supported by the League of United Latin American Citizens targeting young millennial Latinos and immigrants to discuss the value proposition of healthcare.
  • The National Action Network, a leading civil rights organization founded by Reverend Al Sharpton, will engage their over 500,000 followers using #HealthyAdulting to reach out to young adults.
  • March of Dimes will host a Facebook Chat for its 630,000 followers about prenatal care and preventive services covered as essential benefits under Marketplace plans.
  • The Planned Parenthood Federation of America will engage their 837,000 followers in a Facebook live-stream led by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health addressing the state of Latina health.Meanwhile, we are also introducing new partnerships for 2017 with partners that have strong social media followings among young adults. Examples of new partnerships in 2017 include:
  • Tumblr will produce and promote a #HealthyAdulting event that will brand the movement of young adults taking ownership of their health and life choices by gaining health insurance and taking advantage of preventive services and wellness visits.
  • My Halal Kitchen will host Facebook conversations for its 1.3 million followers about healthy living, mental and emotional wellness, and heart health.
  • Autism Speaks will engage its 217,000 Twitter followers by hosting a Twitter chat on the prevalence of autism among young adults, autism screening as a covered benefit, and additional resources the community can use to get the best care.

Collaborating with Federal Partners and Programs

As we get closer to Open Enrollment, we are also working with federal partners to reach people enrolled in their programs who may need and want Marketplace coverage, with a particular focus on reaching young adults. Today we are announcing two new efforts:

  • The Department of Defense will include information about the Marketplace in the Transition Assistance Program, Transition GPS (Goals, Plans, Success) curriculum; more specifically, in the Personal Financial Planning module. The program, run through the Defense Transition Assistance Program Office, will inform transitioning Service members about health insurance options for their family, including HealthCare.gov coverage and possibility of qualifying for Marketplace financial assistance. Since this course is continually being offered, many Service members will lose their military coverage outside of Open Enrollment but would be eligible to sign up for Marketplace coverage through a special enrollment period.  Approximately 200,000 transitioning Service members, many of whom are under the age of 35, will receive this information annually.
  • The Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) will work in coordination with HealthCare.gov to get more and better information to young adults aging out of these programs at age 19, to others exiting Medicaid or CHIP coverage, and to people who apply for these programs but have incomes too high to qualify. Federal law requires states to transfer these individuals’ account information from Medicaid or CHIP to the Health Insurance Marketplace, but the Marketplace has had limited ability to conduct outreach to this group to date. New this year, the Marketplace will be able to contact millions of these individuals via email and mail, and provide information about financial assistance and Marketplace coverage options during Open Enrollment. Almost half of the individuals in this group are age 18-34. In addition, CMS will be releasing new guidance for states outlining best practices for communicating with individuals leaving Medicaid or CHIP and for sharing information with the Marketplace to facilitate direct outreach and to make it easier for individuals to complete a Marketplace application using information they have already provided to their state Medicaid or CHIP program.

In addition, as previously announced, the Internal Revenue Service will conduct new outreach this year to uninsured people who paid the individual responsibility penalty or claimed an exemption, letting them know that tax credits are available for Marketplace coverage and providing information about their health coverage options. Young adults are overrepresented among those who paid the fee: about 45 percent of taxpayers paying a penalty or claiming an exemption were under age 35, compared to about 30 percent of all taxpayers in 2014. Experts have suggested reaching out to those who paid the fee or claimed an exemption to make sure they are aware of their options to enroll in coverage, an approach already implemented in Massachusetts.

Getting Ready for Open Enrollment

We’re putting the finishing touches on our plans for Open Enrollment 4. Between now and November 1, you’ll see a series of announcements from us about what’s new, what’s better, and what to expect during this Open Enrollment – including new tools for consumers, new outreach tactics and targeting strategies, and more information about continued access to affordable coverage. Today’s announcement is the first in this series.

Americans can sign up for affordable health plans that meet their needs and their budgets at HealthCare.gov or their state Marketplace websites beginning November 1. Open Enrollment runs through January 31, 2017. Health coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2017 for consumers who sign up by December 15, 2016.

Support Group Meeting @ Project Response 12/18/2012

Holiday dinner2012