California Gov. Schwarzenegger Proposes FY 2008 Budget, Includes Funding Levels for HIV/AIDS Services
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday submitted a fiscal year 2008 budget proposal that includes funding allocations for public health programs, including HIV/AIDS services, the Los Angeles Times reports (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 1/11).
Schwarzenegger's proposed FY 2008 allocations for all Health and Human Services Agency budgets would total about $78.5 billion in combined state and federal funds -- about $1 billion less than the revised FY 2007 budget. Under Schwarzenegger's proposal, the state's Office of AIDS' Treatment and Prevention Program would receive $404.1 million, $165.8 million of which comes from the state's General Fund. The Office of AIDS administers funding for HIV/AIDS education, counseling, prevention and testing services, therapeutic monitoring, housing, home- and community-based care, and other programs.
Schwarzenegger's budget proposal also would reduce funding for some HIV/AIDS programs by $11 million. The programs include AIDS Education and Prevention, HIV Counseling and Testing, AIDS Epidemiology Studies and Surveillance, and California's AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to a Schwarzenegger release, these spending levels still allow California to meet requirements for Ryan White Program funding (Schwarzenegger release, 1/10).
AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein said that "California will ultimately pay more in health care costs in the long run if it adopts such ill-timed AIDS cuts, and we urge the governor and Legislature to quickly restore this public health funding." He added that California could "reduce reimbursements to drug companies and seriously pursue trying to purchase drugs for ADAP and other state programs at federal pricing levels," which could "result in a 15% savings to the state" (AHF release, 1/10).
Greg Sass, chief financial officer of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said the budget cuts overall could cost San Francisco $5 million next year, including "potentially significant" costs if the city decides to pay for antiretrovirals and other medications for Medi-Cal beneficiaries (Fernandez, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/12).