California Could Lose Millions in HIV/AIDS Funding Under Revisions for Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization
California could lose millions in HIV/AIDS funding under proposed revisions to the Ryan White CARE Act, the Los Angeles Times reports (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 5/29). The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions earlier this month voted 19-1 to approve a bill (S 2823) that would alter the CARE Act by allocating more federal HIV/AIDS funding to Southern and rural states. The bill would revise the funding calculation formulas to include HIV cases and not just AIDS cases. In addition, the bill, sponsored by HELP Committee Chair Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), would create a multilevel funding system according to city size in an effort to distribute funds to more rural states. The bill also would mandate 75% of funding go to medical services such as medications and physician visits, and also would set a minimum drug formulary (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/18). If the measure becomes law, San Francisco could lose one-fourth of the $28 million in CARE Act funding it receives annually, according to Scott Boule, assistant policy director for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The Sacramento region could lose all of its $3 million in federal funding, Adrienne Rogers, coordinator of CARE Act programs in the area, said. In addition, federal funding for HIV/AIDS programs in Orange County could decrease from $4.8 million to $1 million within five years, according to Donna Fleming, a disease control manager for the county. "We will not even be able to cover our basic medical care needs," Fleming said, adding, "That's how devastating it is" (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 5/29). Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said, "Since we're in a limited budget, the intent is to distribute the money fairly, not disproportionately and unfairly" (Los Angeles Times, 5/29). Coburn in March also introduced a bill (S 2339) that would reauthorize and amend the CARE Act (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/17). Michael Montgomery, chief of the Office of AIDS at the California Department of Health Services, said that California's losses might be partly offset by a provision in the bill that would remove a formula that has undercounted the number of AIDS cases in the state by predicting deaths earlier than they occur (Los Angeles Times, 5/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.