Elton John is arguably the most prominent voice on fighting against, fundraising for, and educating on AIDS, at least in terms of celebrity cachet. He just got done making headlines last week in a renewed call for AIDS advocacy. Too bad California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t hear him.
Facing a massive $24 billion state budget deficit — with cash expected to run out by July — Schwarzenegger is cutting costs wherever he can. And you know what that means: Take your tired, your weak, and your poor … and find somewhere else to put them.
That includes those in need of AIDS treatment.
Schwarzenegger is hoping to slash the entirety of a $96 million AIDS program that provides care to 35,000 patients, according to an alert from the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV. This is the same governor who, back in 2005, declared December 1 would be California AIDS Day in conjunction with World AIDS Day. And yes, for the Independent‘s “Red Issue,” it was Schwarzenegger talking about how “we are also fighting AIDS in California, providing nearly $300m to provide life-saving medicine to low-income persons with the disease.”
How’s that lip service paying off now?
Schwarzenegger has already run into trouble with California’s HIV/AIDS community. In December, the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles ordered “California’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to implement a landmark 2002 law intended to extend Medi-Cal (Medicaid) coverage to HIV-positive Californians” after Schwarzenegger’s administration failed to do so. Oh, silly California: Letting the courts decide everything.