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Elton John complained to Gov. Scott about funding cuts, was told to do a concert

Elton JohnGov. Rick Scott has made his way into the pages of a new memoir by singer-songwriter Elton John.

A year ago, Sir Elton, as he is formally called, penned a letter to Florida's governor complaining about the administration's plans to change the eligibility requirements of Florida's Aids Drug Assistance Program, suggesting it would "eliminate access to life saving medication for thousands of low income Floridians living with HIV/AIDS."

Sir Elton, along with his civil partner, Elton John AIDS Foundation Chairman David Furnish, warned the governor that lowering income eligibility could cause as many as 1,600 people to lose their assistance in obtaining antiretroviral medication as well as the 3,900 people on the waiting list -- the longest in the nation.

They received a letter back from then-Surgeon General Frank Farmer, who responded that while Scott's budget proposed full funding of the program the Legislature hadn't allocated any additional funds and the demand for the drugs were exceeding the resources, forcing the cutbacks.

"We welcome any suggestions or ideas you have to help us do more with our existing funding,'' Farmer wrote. Then he made his own suggestion: "I once again cordially invite you to consider an ADAP fundraising concert series in Florida. I know you have a big fan base here and we would love to welcome you to the Sunshine State." Here's the exchange: Download Elton John letter 1  Download Elton John letter 2

Sir Elton didn't take kindly to the idea that the pop star should make up for where the government fell short. In an interview on National Public Radio's Morning Edition today, he told host Steve Inskeep he included the exchange in his memoir, Love is the Cure, to make a point. 

"It's not my job to [fund a state's AIDS program],'' he told It's the government's priority to do that. I can't do benefit concerts for Florida, for the people with AIDS in Florida. It's their responsibility; they need to do what's right. And cutting funding for the people that [can] least afford it is criminal."

Here's the full excerpt from today's NPR interview:

On asking Florida not to cut funding for HIV and AIDS patients, and Florida Surgeon General Frank Farmer suggesting he play a benefit to help raise money

"[EJAF is] an AIDS organization, and whenever anybody's funding is cut — and it's usually cut, especially in this case in Florida, [for] the people that can afford it least ... then we're going to write a letter about it. And we wrote a letter to [Florida Gov. Rick Scott] himself. ...

"It's not my job to [fund a state's AIDS program]. It's the government's priority to do that. I can't do benefit concerts for Florida, for the people with AIDS in Florida. It's their responsibility; they need to do what's right. And cutting funding for the people that [can] least afford it is criminal."

On why funding for AIDS treatment is the government's responsibility

"We can solve this AIDS problem forever if the government gives the funding. If people are encouraged to come out and say they're HIV-positive and they're given their treatments, then obviously the people who are marginalized — like intravenous drug users, prisoners, people who are made to feel less-than — if they're given the support of the government and they're given the funding, then it's going to help solve the spread of AIDS and HIV in America. We have to try and get rid of this shortsightedness when it comes to HIV and the stigma around it."

Photo: NPR

Comments

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whasup

Elton is a much better musician and entertainer than a policy analyst or government critic.

No one in this society or state need ever get an HIV-infection again. The spread of the disease is easy to arrest.

The only exceptions are those who are involuntarily exposed to the virus through assaults or accidents involving body fluids.

Guaranteeing government-supported treatments for those who voluntarily risk HIV exposure is insane.

What that does is allow people to shirk their personal responsibility to protect their own health, believing that if they lose the bet, the government will help fix it.

We have more than enough government programs that try to pick up pieces for people who intentinonally and irresponsibly break their own lives.

Enough already!

David Kearns

Geez, the previous poster pretty much confirmed everything I ever thought about 'baggers and the callous cretin of criminal penchant in the governor's mansion. As if everyone in the state suddenly became the asexual, prudish prigs this clown currently is, AIDS would begone. Of course he doesn't mention the innocent unintended victims, the children of AIDS, infected or otherwise. I suppose God wills it to let the die, no research for you my friends. The only saving hope is, perhaps the previous poster is merely one of Scott's paid twitter and facebook goons posing as a "concerned patriotic cyber-citizen" Sheez.

john gall

sir elton is a selfserving,self centered antagonist...if he was this passionate about aids,he may wanna do something other than complain

Dave Dean

John gall knows nothing of elton or the 18million he raises annualy for aids charity he has all the right to complain.His complaining has saved more lives in this state than Rick Scott or any other selfserving politician

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