House Bill on AIDS Funding ‘Laudable’ Step, Boston Globe Editorial Says
A House bill sponsored by Reps. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) and Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) is a "laudable" improvement on President Bush's proposed AIDS initiative, a Boston Globe editorial says (Boston Globe, 3/24). The legislation would authorize spending $3 billion annually for five years to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide and calls for up to $1 billion of the funds for fiscal year 2004 to go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The bill also calls for the United States to contribute no more than 33% of the Global Fund's total budget, which means that other countries would have to contribute a total of $2 billion to the fund next year in order for the United States to give the full $1 billion authorized in the legislation (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/18). By allowing more money to be spent through the Global Fund, the House bill would "leverage more matching money" from other countries and would address the "truly global ... scope," of the disease, according to the Globe. In addition, funding AIDS projects through the Global Fund would "simplif[y] aid administration for often overworked health officials in the nations receiving assistance." The House bill also omits language from the bill that would subject the funding to the "controversial Mexico City" policy, the Globe says (Boston Globe, 3/24). The "Mexico City" policy -- which was originally implemented by President Reagan at a population conference in Mexico City in 1984, removed by President Clinton and reinstated by Bush on the first day of his presidency -- "bars U.S. money from international groups that support abortion, even with their own money, through direct services, counseling or lobbying activities" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/18). Although a "longtime foe of abortion rights," Hyde was "so dedicated to raising the U.S. contribution in the AIDS fight that he omitted language from his bill" that would have subjected the funding to that policy, the Globe says. The editorial concludes, "Nothing could better show the world that the United States is not obsessed with Iraq than swift passage of a $15 billion AIDS bill. By dedicating a portion to the [Global Fund], Congress would also demonstrate to the world that the United States appreciates the value of multilateral action" (Boston Globe, 3/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.