Bush, Congress Must Resolve ‘Philosophical Differences’ Over AIDS Funding, BusinessWeek Analysis Says
While the media coverage of Bush's trip to Africa would make one think that his "laudable humanitarian effort" to address AIDS in Africa had already been undercut by the House, "White House spinmeisters failed to point out" that the House slightly increased the amount Bush had requested for AIDS programs in his fiscal year 2004 budget and "sharply increased" the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, according to a BusinessWeek news analysis. Bush and Congress have "philosophical difference[s]" over how AIDS money would best be spent -- whether through bilateral programs run by U.S. agencies or through the multilateral Global Fund, according to the analysis. In theory, the bilateral approach will allow the U.S. to better control AIDS funding and more easily disperse the money to "favored" African governments, according to BusinessWeek. In Congress, however, there is widespread bipartisan support for supporting the Global Fund, which could make use of the funds more quickly than new U.S. programs that could take more than a year before they would be fully operational. "Yet, while Washington debates how to administer its health programs, more Africans are dying of AIDS each day. And with new infection rates continuing to rise, the death toll promises to become much higher. The world will be watching to see whether Bush is willing to back up his rhetoric with sufficient money," BusinessWeek concludes (Engardio, BusinessWeek, 7/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.