The negative consequences of the current political stalemate between the President, House Republicans (especially the Tea Party element of the GOP) and Senate Democrats cannot be under-estimated, or maybe even truly comprehended without digging deeper. But recent new reports provide ample evidence that the budget debacle is already raging havoc on the nation's public health system.
The Washington Blade reported that the shutdown will prevent the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) from properly monitoring grants administered under the Ryan White CARE Act -- including the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. And after the debacle with the Florida ADAP several years ago, there is plenty of reason for advocates to be concerned over the loss of federal oversight. The impasse also will halt the seasonal influenza program. It even means potential delays in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of new drugs, as well as delays in clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.
The online publication, Medical Economics, has made available a listing of healthcare agencies being affected by the shutdown.
With so much of the blame being placed at the feet of the Tea Party, it is rather ironic that one of the nation's leading coffee retailers has entered the fray. On October 10th, Starbucks launched its "Come Together" campaign designed "to harness the sentiment many of us are feeling — a growing concern about the lack of progress from our Congressional leadership to work together to resolve the business of the American people." The company is encouraging people to sign an online petition at www.ComeTogetherPetition.com.
All ADAP stakeholders -- especially people living with HIV-infection -- are encouraged to contact their elected federal lawmakers in Washington and urge them to end the government shutdown. Lives are at stake!
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