Massachusetts Legislature Passes Budget That Cuts Spending for AIDS Programs
The Massachusetts Legislature last week approved a $22.6 billion budget that includes a $12 million cut for AIDS programs, the Boston Globe reports (Klein, Boston Globe, 11/22). State lawmakers had drawn up a budget agreement that cut $650 million from health care, human services and other areas, but agreed to restore the state's hepatitis C prevention and education program (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/20). However, the budget cuts $12 million in spending for AIDS treatment and prevention programs, and health officials and AIDS advocates are displeased over the reductions. Dr. Stephen Boswell, executive director of the Fenway Community Health Center, which treats people with HIV/AIDS, said, "Some patients will not have access to all the drugs they will need. It's disappointing to say the least. It's just shocking." State Sen. Mark Montigny (D), chair of the state Senate Ways and Means Committee, said that lawmakers might restore some funding to AIDS programs "if more cash becomes available" (Boston Globe, 11/22). In her budget blueprint, Massachusetts acting Gov. Jane Swift (R) had originally proposed a $17 million reduction in spending for AIDS programs, but later said that she would scale back that cut (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/20). Swift said last week that the budget passed by the Legislature is a "mess" and she will offer a number of line item vetoes within 10 days (Boston Globe, 11/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.