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texas governor’s death sentence for many HIV/AIDS patients, minorities and children

By: C.D. Kirven, Contributing Writer & Activist

Governor Rick Perry announced on CNN’s State of the Union his possible plans to opt Texas out of Medicaid/Medicare to reduce money received from the federal government. As the governor made his media rounds to promote his book and determine the national climate in regards to his presidential aspirations, he once again put his own interests ahead of Texas. Around 25% of Texans are covered by either Medicaid or Medicare, so to eliminate low-income medical assistance would continue to devastate those adversely impacted by the recession and desolate an already impoverished community. For AIDS patients, this could be a death sentence because taking medicine on a rigid schedule is critical, experts say, missing any doses gives the virus a chance to become resistant to the drugs.

Recently, Florida Department of Health dropped about 350 uninsured HIV/AIDS patients from a federally funded program that pays for all or most of their drugs, because of a budget crisis. “We are playing with people’s lives here,” said Michael Rajner, of Fort Lauderdale, an HIV-positive activist. The mid-term proved very successful for Republican but could prove to be a major setback for minority groups in terms of federally funded programs. Below is a breakdown of communities requiring low-income medical assistance.

Texans on Medicare or Medicaid (Total population numbers):

  • 8.1% are unemployed (Over half are Black & Hispanic)
  • 38% are children (64% of Texas’ Medicaid population)
  • 18.4% are infected with HIV/AIDS (5.2% part privately insured & 4.1% uninsured)
  • 13% Elderly (70% are women)

Percent Elderly with Medicare and Medicaid Coverage by Race/Ethnicity, 2005-2006

According to statistics from the American Recovery and Reinvestment’s stimulus monitoring website, Governor Perry’s office – (Fiscal) was dispensed $62,699,477.92 of the 18 billion dollars of stimulus money accepted by Texas.  Governor Perry’s office can accept stimulus funds but will decline federal money to improve the lives of children and HIV patients. This is unacceptable! If one child or AIDS patient dies as a result of this decision, the blood is on the hands of Rick Perry.

As impoverished communities struggle to make ends meet, Governor Perry continues the Republican Party’s big business nexus sending our jobs oversees turning the American dream into a very real middle-class nightmare. Many of these corporations actually filed regular corporate taxes before 2001, and are now exploiting a loophole by changing their tax status to pay as “individuals” specifically because Bush cut individual rates. Texas college students may also be impacted by the new congressional shift.  Republicans could block bills aimed at for-profits and attempt to overturn the administration’s proposed “gainful employment” rule, which would penalize programs whose graduates carry unmanageable levels of debt.

The new healthcare law provided $11 billion for community health centers to serve 20 million more low-income people, including many expected to gain coverage under the law. Many Republicans, including former President Bush have supported such clinics. The bill also provided has provided money to states to help them get ready — to scrutinize increases in insurance premiums and to set up regulated markets known as insurance exchanges. My new motto: “IMPEACH PERRY!” Let Texas be the first to send a message to the new Republican congress and any other politician that wants to make it their business to ignore the suffering of middle-class Americans.

C.D. Kirven

Co-founder of Get Equal Now

(C.D. Kirven is a Lambda Literary nominated author of the book, “What Goes Around Comes Back Around”.  She  is board member of DFW Pride Movement and an LGBT rights activist.  In addition, she is an artist who has had artwork was shown at the Butch Voices Conference in Oakland, CA and in the December 2009 issue of Curve magazine. She also created the first LGBT cell phone documentary about same sex intimate partner abuse. She has an online clothing line at www.zazzle.com/cdkirven and is editing her online reality show about her life called: “SOULPRINT”.  Ms. Kirven is currently working on a non-fiction lesbian rights manifesto, “The Glass Closet” and a documentary. Contact her at cdkirven@aol.com, http://cdkirven.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/chastitykirven.)

3 comments to texas governor’s death sentence for many HIV/AIDS patients, minorities and children

  • C.d., I like your writing and i generally agree with your opinions on issues. And you’re going to probably be angry with me for saying this. I immediately didn’t trust your info in the article because I knew your agenda and wondered if you’d skewed the facts to support your argument. So, I looked up the issue of Perry & Medicaid. I actually understand and sympathize with his, and other governors’ problem with a mandated system that’s helping bankrupt State gov’ts., while those citizens send tax $ to DC with little payback. Perry asked for a HHS waiver, 4 yrs. ago, so TX could redesign their payments to low income, disabled and children medical care. I don’t know if or how he can, but his argument is that states can design their own programs, with lower cost, if unburdened by the current system. He’s not talking about letting people suffer and die from lack of care; he thinks TX could provide necessary care for less $ and screen out waste. Now, Medicaid & Medicare are far less wasteful than private insurance, but he’s falling into that BS about “welfare queens,” etc. Still, he might be right about reforming the system & getting out from under the current mandates. I don’t know from your article if it’s feasible. But I don’t know from other news articles I’m reading about it, either. Maybe it’s just a rhetorical stubbornness about “states’ rights” and big gov’t. But we, in New Mexico, who, until this election, were governed by Democrats who love Fed. $, cannot bear the burden of Medicaid & Medicare on OUR state, either. We’re broke. I already can’t get decent health care, and they haven’t gutted the pgm. yet. I don’t know what to do. So called “Obamacare” may not be perfect, and isn’t even health care reform, but INSURANCE reform, but it was a start. If GOP governors are taking AIDS patients off rolls in Fla and other states, is it a comment on Obamacare or a real need to keep their states from bankruptcy? It’s a HUGE issue. Do I hate the GOP and the hysterical influences of the Tea Parody? Yes. But I need more accurate, verifiable information to actually be informed, not simply inflamed by more rhetoric from the other position. I guess this is a long way of saying I need more investigative journalism, and less opinion. I know you’re very smart, committed and talented and I KNOW you can help me get hard news. Don’t hate me.

  • Rogi:

    I believe I addressed your concerns on my facebook page. How I’m giving a voice to the underrepresented LGBT community of color, minority children and other isolated groups that are generally not published in mainstream gay media. Most can not identify with my perspective as a Black lesbian living in Texas and I know you live in New Mexico. But, it’s a perspective (one) that should be allowed to be voiced. On top of all that, Perry will be adding man & woman only wording to Texas constitution in January 2011 so he will be going after all minority groups in Texas. As I’ve told the face of social assistance and need for affiordable healthcare due to big business robbing the middle class of the American dream.

    Article about changing face of social assistance:

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6808391.html

  • Also more info on why cutting Medicaid would be a huge disaster:

    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/11/09/perry-medicaid/

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