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Policy Update 10-28-2011: A Gift for the Holiday Season
In This Issue...

AIDS United
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A Gift for the Holiday Season
Joint Select Committee Shows Signs of Leakage
PDUFA: Funny Name; Vital Program
Don't Delay HIV Prevention for Gay and Bi Men
Crews Elected to CHF Board
Announcements
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A Gift for the Holiday Season

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Thinking of treating yourself to an early holiday treat? Well forget the iPad and the Snuggie…If you like Congress then you’ll love the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction! If all YOU want for Christmas is a microcosm of Congress, complete with all the endearing and not-so-endearing quirks and idiosyncrasies, then look no further than the Joint Committee, or as it has been nicknamed in order to appeal to a wider base of early holiday shoppers, the “super committee!” On Wednesday, the Committee held its third public meeting since its creation nearly three months ago and the topic was “Overview: Discretionary Outlays, Security and Non-Security” (hey, we never said the Committee was as exciting a gift as a Furby).

Also this week in the Policy Update is an early holiday delight in the form of an extravaganza of blogs, or, a “bloganza!” We present you with two blogs, one by Ronald Johnson, AIDS United Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, and the other by President and CEO of AIDS Foundation of Chicago, David Munar.  Johnson's blog focuses on  the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which enables the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite review processes of new drugs; while Munar’s blog addresses  the need for the FDA to authorize as soon as possible the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis as an HIV prevention method for gay men.

Finally, we highlight our very own Donna Crews, Director of Government Affairs, who was elected on Wednesday to serve a two year term on the board of the Coalition for Health Funding, the oldest and largest nonprofit alliance working to preserve and strengthen public health investments.

Enjoy your weekend and treat yourself to this week’s Policy Update!

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Joint Select Committee Shows Signs of Leakage

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On Wednesday, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction held a public meeting entitled “Overview: Discretionary Outlays, Security and Non-Security” which featured testimony from Doug Elmendorf, Director, Congressional Budget Office. Video of the hearing can be found here.

After a disappointing lack of transparency during the initial months of Committee meetings, details were leaked this week of two separate plans to cut the deficit, one from Committee Democrats and the other from Republican members. The plan offered by Democrats has reportedly proposed $3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade achieved by cuts to entitlements, including Medicare, and up to $1.3 trillion in new tax revenues. Aides to Committee Republicans have said that Republicans have balked at the idea of any revenue increases and will counter with their own proposal to cut the deficit by $1.5 trillion without raising taxes. The Committee has until November 23 to reach an agreement, otherwise an automatic $1.2 trillion in spending cuts will be triggered in January 2013 that would affect a wide range of domestic programs and the Pentagon.

Based on these leaks, the super committee appears to be gridlocked on the same points as Congress was over the summer. Ironically, that gridlock led to the creation of the super committee with the hopes that a small group of Congressional Members would be less mired in the gridlock that has plagued Congress for much of the past three years.

 

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PDUFA: Funny Name; Vital Program

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PDUFA! It sounds like something that should be followed with a “God bless you!” Actually, PDUFA is so much more than just a funny sounding acronym; it stands for Prescription Drug User Fee Act and it enables the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite review processes of new drug applications. PDUFA mandates that the FDA set a standard goal of reviewing drug applications within 10 months and a priority review goal of six months. In the wake of evidence that has found pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, to be effective at reducing HIV infections among gay men, PDUFA is more vital than ever for people living with HIV as we await the FDA’s approval on this game changing approach to HIV prevention.

Read Ronald Johnson’s blog .

 

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Don't Delay HIV Prevention for Gay and Bi Men

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David Munar, President and CEO of AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), an AIDS United policy partner, wrote a blog urging the Food and Drug Administration to immediately begin its review for approval of PrEP for gay and bisexual men. PrEP is a pre-exposure prophylaxis that was definitively proven last year to reduce HIV transmission among gay men. In light of recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows an increase in HIV infections among young gay men between 2006 and 2009, the need for PrEP is even greater.

AFC, AIDS United, and other partner organizations have sent a letter, which Munar mentions, to the FDA imploring them to promptly review PrEP as an HIV prevention tool.

Click here to see David Munar’s blog .

Click here to see the open letter to the FDA .

 

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Crews Elected to CHF Board

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At Tuesday’s Annual Meeting of the Coalition for Health Funding (CHF), AIDS United Director of Government Affairs, Donna Crews, was elected to a 2-year term on the Coalition’s Board of Directors. AIDS United is the only HIV/AIDS-related organization represented on the Board. The CHF is the oldest and largest non-profit coalition working to maintain and strengthen public health investments. AIDS United (as AIDS Action) is a long time member of CHF.

Click here to visit the CHF website .

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Announcements

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AIDS United Hits the Road
AIDS United is taking its show on the road to the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA), which will be held in Chicago, November 10-13. A number of AIDS United’s staff will be making presentations at the conference. For all the whos, whats, whens, and wheres of AIDS United's sessions at USCA, click here.

HIV/AIDS Advocate's Guide to Submitting Comments on the Medicaid Regulations
This August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released comprehensive Medicaid eligibility and enrollment regulations pertaining to the 2014 expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with comments due on October 31, 2011. The HIV Health Care Access Working Group has developed the following guide to highlight what is at stake for people living with HIV and AIDS and to help state advocates craft their own comments (to submit comments, click HERE or see instructions below). This regulation will have a huge impact on how the eligibility and enrollment system for Medicaid will work and on what sort of protections will be in place ensure a smooth transition for the many people living with HIV who will be eligible for Medicaid in 2014.

View the Medicaid guide that highlights how this issue affects people living with HIV/AIDS.

Instructions for Submitting Comments to HHS

The regulation is available online and can be viewed here.

Comments may be submitted online here.

AIDS United Hiring Texas Regional Field Organizer
AIDS United seeks a Regional Field Organizer to work in Texas with its grantees, partners, and allies to implement a coordinated national organizing strategy. The Regional Field Organizers will help mobilize grassroots state and federal HIV/AIDS-related advocacy to achieve the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goals. Regional Field Organizers will be located in Texas, Washington, DC, and the Southeast U.S.

Learn more about the Regional Field Organizer position.

Super Tools for Super Action
As previously reported in the Policy Update, the “super committee” has until November 23 to produce a plan for deficit reduction. This plan will undoubtedly impact people living with HIV as cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are possible. Use the tools below to become familiar with deficit reduction and the ways that you can help ensure that programs that benefit people living with HIV are protected.

An Advocate’s Guide to Deficit Reduction (PDF).

Deficit Reduction Action Alert (PDF).

Deficit Reduction Principles (PDF).

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