31 Mar 2011
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
Special to the NNPA
(Excerpted from Nick Chiles’ Q&A with Former Congressional Black Caucus Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), – a long-time fighter against the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community and a strong advocate for the rights and care of individuals with HIV/AIDS.)
Nick Chiles: What concerns do you have about how the challenges to health reform might affect people with HIV/AIDS?
Rep. Maxine Waters: Health disparities like HIV/AIDS, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc., for people of color are getting worse, and more and more people are going without health insurance. That’s why the Affordable Care Act, also known as the health-care reform law, specifically addresses these disparities and other pre-existing conditions and makes it illegal to be denied health insurance because of them. We cannot allow the health-care reform law to be repealed, and part of the reason I voted against repeal was because the Affordable Care Act will help lessen health disparities, including those related to HIV/AIDS.
Moving forward, I’m encouraged that the president announced a National HIV/AIDS strategy last year, with the three primary goals of reducing the number of new infections, increasing access to care for people living with HI, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. A national strategy is something that’s long overdue and something I’ve long called for, and I urge everyone not only to get behind it, but to financially support it 150 percent. Again, ideals are one thing, but securing adequate funding to make those ideals come true is something else.
(Nick Chiles is a prize-winning journalist and author, who lives in Georgia. Read more about him at chilmill.com.)