Senate Should Support AIDS Legislation, Support Global Fund, Orlando Sentinel Editorial Says
Many more people die each day of AIDS-related diseases than have been killed by severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and therefore AIDS deserves congressional action, an Orlando Sentinel editorial says. Although "[a]larm continues to grow around the world" since the emergence of SARS, the death toll from the new, pneumonia-like disease "is a fraction of the daily number of deaths from AIDS," according to the editorial. The House responded to President Bush's call for action on AIDS legislation by "approving funding at the overall level Mr. Bush sought" and "improv[ing] on his proposal by authorizing the United States to contribute up to $1 billion next year to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria," the editorial says (Orlando Sentinel, 5/11). The House earlier this month approved a bill (HR 1298), sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), that would authorize $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. The bill would authorize $3 billion a year for five years for international HIV/AIDS programs, with up to $1 billion in fiscal year 2004 going to the Global Fund (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/9). The Senate should "follow the House's lead quickly," as a recently released General Accounting Office report found that while the fund has worked "efficiently and effectively," it will soon go bankrupt without more contributions, the Sentinel says. In addition, the editorial says that Senate leaders need to "steer their way through ideological minefields that could delay or doom the president's initiative," concluding that "[t]heir prompt action could save millions of lives" (Orlando Sentinel, 5/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.