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Senate Considers Cuts in HIV Treatment For Poor

HIV program not a top priority for lawmakers

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    A bottle and pills

    A proposal before the Texas Senate would cut HIV drugs for 14,000 poor people. Budget writers gave the program a secondary priority in a draft budget considered by the finance subcommittee on Medicaid spending.

    Democratic State Sen. Judith Zaffirini asked the Department of State Health Services commissioner on Thursday what would happen if the patients did not get their medication.

    Dr. David Lakey said they would die.

    Zaffirini questioned why the drug program was not a top priority. Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson pointed out that federal money was used to pay for the program in the last budget, but now that money was unavailable.

    The non-partisan Legislative Budget Board also released data Thursday that showed the state would lose 335,000 jobs if the current proposed budget became law.

    The Associated Press' Chris Tomlinson contributed to this report.