Editorial, Letter to Editor Respond to Obama’s Proposed $63B Global Health Initiative
Two newspapers recently published an editorial and letter to the editor in response to President Obama's $63 billion, six-year global health initiative. Obama's plan calls for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to receive $51 billion over six years to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, while the remaining $12 billion would be directed to other global health issues, including pre- and post-natal care and child health initiatives. Obama's proposal would increase FY 2010 spending on global HIV, TB and malaria to $7.4 billion, $366 million more than this year (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/6). Summaries appear below.
Boston Globe: The proposal "would break new ground in treating children's infectious diseases, even as it falls short of campaign promises for major increases in overseas funding for HIV/AIDS," the editorial says. Although HIV/AIDS advocates have "criticized" the proposal, the U.S. "can save more lives for less money in developing countries by broadening its health safety net," according to the editorial. Obama's plan is an "overdue acknowledgement that [developing] nations need assistance in addressing a raft of diseases and health threats," the editorial says, adding that the "differences between the president's campaign pledges and last week's proposal will pale in significance if Congress reacts to the mounting budget deficits by throwing a brake on foreign aid." The editorial concludes that "[a]ll advocates of U.S. global health spending should rally around the Obama plan, to make sure that Americans' commitment to prevent and treat deadly diseases overseas does not fall victim to the ebb and flow of the world's economy" (Boston Globe, 5/11).
Letter to the Editor
- Eric Friedman, New York Times: Although Obama's proposed increases in global health spending that is not related to HIV/AIDS is "welcome," it "fall[s] far short of the investments required to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals despite the president's express commitment to them," Friedman, senior global health policy adviser at Physicians for Human Rights, writes in a letter to the editor of the Times. "As the economic downturn forces the administration to rethink priorities, global health must not -- and in a multitrillion-dollar budget need not -- lose out," Friedman writes, adding that if the U.S. "fails to make the necessary investments in global health, there will be needless, avoidable and extensive loss of life." Friedman concludes, "Fiscal responsibility cannot and should not be restored at the expense of the health of the world's poorest and most marginalized citizens" (Friedman, New York Times, 5/10).