Bush Budget Plan Includes Increases for AIDS in Africa, Would Likely Not Boost CARE Act Funding
The White House and and its Republican allies have become "increasingly confident" that President Bush's FY 2002 budget -- which includes " spending boosts" for programs to help African nations "battling" the AIDS epidemic -- will pass, the Wall Street Journal reports. "I think we have the votes," Senate Budget Committee Chair Pete Dominici (R-N.M.) said (Hitt, Wall Street Journal, 4/4). Although Bush plans to increase funding for African nations fighting the AIDS crisis, he will likely propose "dee[p] cuts" in a number of health programs and provide no additional funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, which received $1.8 billion this year, prompting criticism from AIDS activist groups. Advocates for AIDS patients "lamented" that Bush offered "no allowance" for inflation for the cost of medical care and "expensive" drugs used to treat HIV. "This is a cause for grave concern," Alexis Schuler, director of government affairs at AIDS Action, said (Pear, New York Times, 4/4). "I can't overstate how bad this is for people with AIDS," Schuler added (Meckler, AP/Nando Times, 4/4). AIDS drugs, especially protease inhibitors, help those with HIV to live longer, fueling "more demand for drug therapy and for care under" the CARE Act. While some state-based programs provide drugs to uninsured HIV and AIDS patients, many have "placed new restrictions on benefits" after "running short" of funding, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported last week (New York Times, 4/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.