Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Reuters Examines Legislation for Reauthorization of Ryan White Care Act
Reuters on Thursday examined legislation for the reauthorization of federal funding for the Ryan White Care Act and HIV/AIDS advocates' reaction to the measures (Baertlein, Reuters, 8/10). The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in May voted to approve a bill (S 2823), sponsored by Committee Chair Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), that 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 would set a minimum drug formulary (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/18). Michael Weinstein, president of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation and a supporter of the Enzi-Kennedy measure, said, "Ryan White is not about maintaining the AIDS establishment," adding that HIV/AIDS-service organizations need to evolve as the virus changes. But some critics such as Janet Weinberg, managing director of development and legislative funding for the New York City-based Gay Men's Health Crisis, oppose the legislation because they believe it might reduce the funding of some nonmedical services for HIV-positive people -- such as housing assistance, food services and legal protection. GMHC, which feeds and provides housing for 350 people daily, could lose up to $1 million annually for such services, Weinberg said, adding, "If you don't know where you're putting your head at night, are you going to get to the doctor?" Congress next month is expected to address reauthorization of the CARE Act, which must be reauthorized every five years, according to Reuters (Reuters, 8/10).
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