‘No Excuse’ for Slow Start to President Bush’s Proposed AIDS Initiative in Africa, Caribbean, New York Times Editorial States
Although President Bush is "reinvigorating one of the most necessary and unjustly reviled federal programs" by proposing increases for and overhauls to the foreign aid budget, "there is no excuse" for the slow start to his proposed five-year, $15 billion initiative to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, a New York Times editorial states. Bush's budget "falls short" of his promise to provide $10 billion in new money for the program over five years, as he is proposing "only" a $550 million increase over international AIDS funding contained in the fiscal year 2003 spending bill, the editorial states. "Since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria would be an effective channel for the aid, there is no excuse for the initiative's leisurely start," the Times says, adding that the president's FY 2004 budget for the fund -- $200 million -- "actually cuts in half what Congress is likely to do in 2003." In addition, the editorial notes that Bush took part of the money for his AIDS initiative "by cutting nearly $500 million" from international child health programs, including vaccine initiatives. The Times concludes, "Child survival is the biggest loser in the foreign aid budget -- a scandalous way to finance AIDS initiatives. With the budget dominated by defense spending and huge tax cuts for the wealthy, the White House should not be forcing the babies of Africa to pay for their parents' AIDS drugs" (New York Times, 2/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.