Partial victory for public health

House restores HIV treatment funds

Effort expected to go to conference committee 

Thursday was a long day for the Wyoming Legislature as it waded through dozens of amendments in both the House and the Senate, working well past 7 p.m. Public health advocates registered a partial victory when the House approved an amendment to the Department of Health budget that will restore $400,000 to demonstrate the state’s “maintenance of effort” and assure that Wyoming qualifies for funding through the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Program. These AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, known as ADAPs, provide FDA approved HIV-related prescription drugs to underinsured and uninsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The CARE Act gives states broad authority to set program eligibility criteria and to decide what HIVrelated treatments to include on ADAP formularies. Those federal funds are used to pay for medicine needed by people with HIV. (See Kaiser Family Foundation.) Wyoming has participated in the program since 2003, Rep. Cathy Connolly, HD13, D-Laramie, said when she introduced her amendment. The Department of Health intended to seek the appropriation again this year, but made a mistake. In a memo to Connolly, Department of Health Director Tom Forslund noted the error and wrote, “… the department requested an increase in the ADAP manufacturer’s rebate program for HIV/AIDS drugs of $400,000 to reflect the actual rebate amount receive in a biennium. “This was mistakenly identified as new funding, resulting in a recommendation that the general fund for this program be reduced by a similar amount.” Forslund noted the funding “may be necessary to meet the maintenance of effort requirement for the HIV/AIDS Program.” “There was no intention to cut this program,” Connolly told the House. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rosie Berger, HD51, R-Big Horn, spoke up for the amendment, too. She noted the mistake and urged the House to support the amendment. The amendment was approved in the House on a 44-13 vote.

Here’s the vote:

ROLL CALL

Ayes:  Representative(s) Barbuto, Berger, Blikre, Bonner, Botten, Brown, Buchanan, Burkhart, Byrd, Campbell, Cannady, Childers, Connolly, Craft, Eklund, Esquibel, K., Freeman, Gingery, Goggles, Greear, Greene, Harshman, Harvey, Illoway, Kasperik, Krone, Lockhart, Madden, McOmie, Miller, Moniz, Nicholas B, Patton, Petersen, Petroff, Roscoe, Semlek, Steward, Stubson, Throne, Vranish, Wallis, Zwonitzer, Dn. and Zwonitzer, Dv.. Nays:  Representative(s) Brechtel, Davison, Edmonds, Gay, Hunt, Jaggi, Kroeker, Loucks, McKim, Peasley, Pederson, Quarberg and Reeder. Excused:  Representative(s) Blake, Lubnau and Teeters. Ayes 44    Nays 13    Excused 3    Absent 0    Conflicts 0

Senate rejects amendment

Unfortunately, a mirror amendment offered in the Senate by Sen. Cale Case, SD25, R-Lander, failed on a 12-18 vote. That means the funding will be on the table when the budget bills passed by each chamber– Senate File 1 – General government appropriations and HB 1 – General government appropriations – 2 –go to a conference committee.

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