We cannot play politics with health care

This week, news broke that the Trump administration is considering slashing millions of dollars in health care support for New York City, Oregon, Portland, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, the administration designated these five cities as “anarchist jurisdictions” in response to the national outcry for racial justice. These proposed funding cuts are a political stunt that will risk countless lives.

The Department of Health and Human Services has compiled a list of nearly 200 programs for consideration, according to reports. These programs provide vital services like HIV treatment, COVID-19 relief, screenings for newborns and so much more.

We cannot play politics with lives — especially amid a pandemic that continues to devastate this country.

“Any effort by the Trump administration to slash coronavirus relief funds or lifesaving HIV treatment, under the misguided guise of scoring political points, would be deeply harmful and even illegal under current appropriations laws,” said the Partnership to End HIV, STDs and Hepatitis, of which AIDS United is a member, in a statement. “Jeopardizing the health of underserved and at-risk communities is a clear abdication of presidential responsibilities and we vehemently oppose any such actions.”

COVID-19 has taken more than 220,000 thousand lives already. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates hundreds of thousands “excess deaths” due to the pandemic.

These funding cuts also jeopardize the administration’s own plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 and would set our progress back irreparably.

COVID-19 has already put a strain on access to HIV prevention, testing and treatment for so many people.

We cannot play politics with health care. Lives depend on it.