Spending ‘Waste’ Must be Corrected Before Additional AIDS Funding is Allocated, Columnist Says
AIDS activists should not receive additional funding for HIV/AIDS programs "until the misspending on programs that do little to prevent and nothing to cure the disease is stopped," syndicated columnist Cal Thomas writes in the Omaha World-Herald. Thomas cites a recent Citizens Against Government Waste report that detailed "how millions of mostly federal dollars ... [are] being squandered on highly questionable [AIDS] programs." Thomas notes examples of such waste documented in the report, including instances in which Ryan White CARE Act funding was used to pay for personal trips. Thomas also points out report statistics stating that the NIH in 1996 spent $43,000 for every AIDS-related death, compared to $4,700 for every cancer death and $1,160 for every heart disease death. "The political clout of AIDS activists, along with the fear of opponents who cower at the label 'homophobe,' account for this disparity in research funding. This is especially frustrating to cancer and heart disease patients, who see their diseases as mostly unrelated to behavioral choices," Thomas states. Before more federal dollars are allocated to AIDS programs, "it's fair to ask whether a lot of the money already being spent is allocated wisely or wasted on frivolous and outrageous things that don't enhance our knowledge and lead to a cure," Thomas concludes (Thomas, Omaha World-Herald, 3/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.