Skip directly to content

Governor Cuomo’s Plan to End AIDS Will Save Lives and Money

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

For Immediate Release
 
Governor Cuomo’s Plan to End AIDS Will Save Lives and Money
TAG & Housing Works Report Shows Plan to End AIDS by 2020 Will Translate into $4.5 Billion in Net Medicaid Savings for NY State
 
Link to full report: The unabridged fiscal report analysis is available here.

New York, NY—Treatment Action Group (TAG) and Housing Works have released a report that analyzes the fiscal impact of meeting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to end the AIDS epidemic in the State by the year 2020. The analysis shows that proposed new investments in the state’s HIV response could generate as much as $6.8 billion in Medicaid savings and $120 million in savings in New York City shelter costs. The projected reduction in public spending would be more than twice the cost of expanding HIV treatment and housing supports, and would enable New York to end its HIV epidemic by eliminating AIDS deaths and significantly reducing new infections.

After Governor Cuomo made history in June 2014 by announcing a plan to end AIDS as an epidemic in New York State, he appointed an “Ending the Epidemic” (ETE) Task Force of HIV/AIDS experts to develop a plan to reduce annual HIV infections from 3,200 in 2013 to below 750 in 2020. “Reducing new HIV infections to below 750 and putting 88% of New York’s HIV-positive population on effective HIV treatment by the year 2020 will end up saving New York State Medicaid almost $7 billion in lifetime treatment costs. In the shorter-range, the expanded treatment and prevention are made affordable by the sweeping drug rebates NYS Medicaid negotiated with the major HIV treatment manufacturers,” said TAG executive director Mark Harrington. “Preserving the health and extending the lives of the 154,000 New Yorkers living with HIV and preventing over ten thousand new infections will end first deaths from AIDS and then new infections from HIV in New York, setting an example that can then be adapted and scaled up in other jurisdictions.”

“Ending AIDS as an epidemic is not just the right thing to do for the health of New Yorkers—it’s also cost-effective,” said Housing Works President/CEO Charles King, who also served as co-chair of the Task Force. “An AIDS-free New York stands to gain much—in both human and fiscal terms.”

Governor Cuomo and the legislature included $10 million in Medicaid funding over two years to support the initiative in the most recent budget. Albany leaders also made changes to NY laws that had previously undermined the effectiveness of condom and clean syringe distribution. Full implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations, however, would require new investments, including an estimated $2.25 billion in Medicaid spending between now and 2020 to get every HIV-infected New Yorker on effective antiretroviral therapy that sustains health and virtually eliminates the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

“The truth is that NYS simply cannot afford a status quo approach to HIV,” said Ginny Shubert, Housing Works’ senior advisor on policy and research. “After 30 years, we know all too well the human toll of AIDS on New York State’s individuals, families, and communities—but the ongoing NYS HIV epidemic also costs the state billions in avoidable public spending.” According to recent studies, each new HIV infection costs more than $440,000 in health spending alone. ETE implementation would improve the health of New Yorkers living with HIV and prevent an estimated 10,850 new primary HIV infections between now and 2020 as well as thousands of secondary downstream infections. These improved health outcomes translate into substantial savings in avoided health care and services spending.

The TAG and Housing Works analysis shows that full implementation of the ETE plan is expected to reduce total Medicaid spending by as much as $4.5 billion after factoring in incremental treatment costs. The expansion of essential housing services called for in the ETE plan will alone produce net public savings of at least $1 billion through increased stability and improved health outcomes for the 10,000 or more New Yorkers with HIV who are currently homeless or unstably housed.
 
# # #

About Housing Works:

Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS working to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain their efforts. For more information, visit Housing Works’ website at www.housingworks.org.

About Treatment Action Group:

Treatment Action Group (TAG) is an independent AIDS research and policy think tank fighting for better treatment, a vaccine, and a cure for AIDS. TAG is a group of science-based treatment activists working to expand and accelerate vital research and effective community engagement with research and policy institutions, and to ensure that all people with HIV receive lifesaving treatment, care, and information. Learn more at www.treatmentactiongroup.org.