Elections have consequences
By Phill Wilson
We are a week from the 2012 Presidential Election. Everyone always says that whatever the current election is, it’s the most important election ever. And they’re always right. This year is no exception. It is the most important election ever.
It is particularly true for people living with HIV/AIDS or at risk of infection. We have two very distinct presidential choices: Gov. Romney has made it clear that if he is elected president he will repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly called Obamacare.
We are at a deciding moment in the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic, particularly in the United States. For months we have talked about how significant it is that we finally have the tools to end the epidemic. But let’s not get it twisted: Having the capacity to do something is not the same as actually doing it. Ending the U.S. AIDS epidemic is going to require a lot of work, and it’s going to require the right set of circumstances. And the most important thing we need to do is fully implement the ACA. Here’s the deal: We cannot end the AIDS epidemic without Obamacare.
There’s no path to ending the U.S. AIDS epidemic when 60 mil-lion Americans are without healthcare and there’s no real health-care financing mechanism to help the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV get into care and stay in care. Fully implementing the ACA will determine our ability to end the AIDS epidemic more than any other single action. And we have a role to play over the next 12 days to determine whether or not ending the epidemic will be possible.
We will wake up on Nov. 7 and either we will have a president who’s committed to helping to build a healthcare delivery system that will end the U.S. epidemic by engaging more Americans in healthcare than ever before — many of whom will be Black or Brown, many of whom will be women, many of whom will be poor, many of whom will be from the LBGT (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender) community, and many of whom will either be living with HIV/AIDS or at risk for infection. Or, on Nov. 7, the President-elect will be committed to repealing the ACA.
Those of us who are committed to ending the AIDS epidemic have to make sure the American people fully understand what is at stake. All elections have consequences. This particular election will have serious consequences. One of them will be the opportunity to end the AIDS epidemic during our lifetimes.
Yours in the struggle, Phill