In San Francisco Examiner Interview, Pelosi, AIDS Advocate Comment on Ryan White Funding, Bush Budget
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), speaking to the San Francisco Examiner's "Q & A" on April 12 said, "The Ryan White CARE Act is flat funded [in President Bush's budget], which means a 6% decrease when you take into consideration the increased cost of providing the service. We need so much more money than that, and we must have it. Literally, this is a figure we cannot live with, and neither can anybody with HIV or AIDS live with that figure" (Dodsworth, San Francisco Examiner, 4/12). In response to Pelosi's remarks, AIDS activist Michael Petrelis of AIDS-Statistics.com writes that in light of the funding shortfall, Pelosi should "join with AIDS patients to demand that lavish six-figure salaries for AIDS executives be trimmed before services are downsized." He points out that the San Francisco Health Commission recently approved the acceptance of a $36 million Ryan White CARE Act grant for care and services and that "as an AIDS patient," he questions how much of that money goes directly into services. Petrelis cites the Washington Monthly cover story on "AIDS Incorporated," which said that the "administrators of some AIDS charities earn more than mayors, governors and members of Congress." He continues, "Concerns must be raised about why AIDS patients face seemingly endless waiting lists for services like rental subsidies while executive directors of AIDS charities get hefty compensation packages." Petrelis concludes, "I hope Pelosi will tone down her alarming rhetoric about possible AIDS funding cuts" and "do more to insure the millions of AIDS dollars for AIDS patients truly helps us stay alive" (Petrelis, San Francisco Examiner, 4/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.