CQ’s Carey Addresses Democrats’ Attempt To Block Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization
Mary Agnes Carey, associate editor of CQ HealthBeat, discusses Senate Democrats' attempt to block reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act in this week's "Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ" (Carey, "Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ," 10/3). Congress on Saturday adjourned without the Senate passing a measure to reauthorize the CARE Act, which provides funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the U.S. Five senators, including a "handful" from New Jersey and New York state, on Friday blocked Senate consideration of a House-approved bill (HR 6143) sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) that would change CARE Act funding formulas so that rural areas experiencing increasing numbers of HIV/AIDS cases receive increased funding amounts, which would decrease funding allocated to urban areas. The government will allocate about $2 billion for CARE Act programs in fiscal year 2006. The bill -- which the House on Thursday voted 325-98 to pass -- would authorize funding increases of 3.7% annually from 2008 through 2011. Bono's bill also would require that 75% of CARE Act funds be used for "core medical services," while remaining funds would be allocated for care-related services. Some legislators from states with large urban areas -- including California, New Jersey and New York -- have opposed measures that would change CARE Act funding formulas, saying they could harm HIV/AIDS programs in areas with higher HIV prevalence. According to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), who sponsored the legislation in the Senate, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Friday dropped their opposition to the legislation after being assured that California would not be excessively harmed under the new funding formulas. However, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) continued her hold on the legislation (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/2). Carey says that the proposed changes will have to be addressed for the measure to move forward in the Senate but added that lawmakers could extend the current law and revisit the legislation next year ("Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ," 10/3).
The complete audio version of "Health on the Hill," transcript and resources for further research are available online.