Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Frist ‘Walked Away From Promise’ on International HIV/AIDS Funding, Washington Post Editorial Says
Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), "just hours before the measure was due to go to a vote," cut to $200 million a proposed $500 million increase in international HIV/AIDS funding that he and Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) offered in March, a Washington Post editorial states, noting that Frist's staff said that the reduction in the contribution, which was attached to supplemental spending bill, was necessary because President Bush had threatened to veto the bill due to its high cost. The administration added that it was planning its own "comparable" HIV/AIDS initiative. If that is so, it is "surprising that the White House didn't welcome an amendment that could have funded its new program," the Post says, adding that another explanation for Frist's action is that "the administration didn't want to spend the money, and that Frist put his relationship with Bush ahead of his commitment to the promised $500 million." This "retreat" is regrettable because Frist, the Senate's only medical doctor, has been able to use his influence in the past to get the administration to "care more about AIDS than it otherwise might," the editorial says. Although Frist can "fairly argue that even a $200 million boost in AIDS funding represents a leap forward," he "should not walk away from promises on AIDS," a disease he himself called the "most devastating disease of modern times," the Post concludes (Washington Post, 6/12).
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