As Leana S. Wen highlighted in her Dec. 9 op-ed, “Low-cost HIV drugs are a great idea. But not if patients can’t get them.,” although President Trump has proposed to provide free HIV prevention medication to uninsured patients as part of an effort to address HIV/AIDS, too many of his other policies undermine his promise of free medicine.

It’s contradictory to dangle free drugs to uninsured patients when millions of people don’t have access to the doctors that would need to write the prescriptions for that medicine in the first place. The spread of HIV is particularly high in the South, where many states have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, precluding diagnosis of HIV or AIDS and denying people treatment of any kind. The president’s support for the lawsuit to overturn the ACA could strip millions more of their health insurance and force HIV/AIDS patients to pay more for coverage because of their preexisting condition. 

Rather than provide one free medication to a limited number of patients, the president should keep his earlier promise to address the bigger crisis of skyrocketing drug prices and to protect people with preexisting conditions by supporting the Lower Drug Costs Now Act and ending his ACA sabotage campaign.

Margarida Jorge, Washington

The writer is executive director of Health Care for America Now.