Washington, D.C. – A new report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that the House of Representatives’ appropriations bill would raid HIV/AIDS treatment funds from every metropolitan area in the country to direct money to San Francisco and New York. “Under the House bill, every city across the country would take a hit in order to send more money to San Francisco and New York. That’s not what Congress intended when we reauthorized the Ryan White CARE Act. Money for HIV/AIDS treatment should go to the people who need it, regardless of where they live,” said Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
“I hope the Democrat leadership in the Senate will not use the appropriations process to cheat struggling communities out of funds they desperately need to fight HIV/AIDS. There are people across the country whose health is getting worse and worse while they sit on waiting lists to get the treatment they need. If the Senate includes this shameful provision, people will die unnecessarily so that San Francisco and New York can continue to get more than their fair share of HIV/AIDS funding.”
The House appropriations bill, H.R. 3293, contains a provision that would undo funding formulas, which distribute money to cities and states based on the number of HIV/AIDS patients they have, and unfairly shift funds to San Francisco and New York, even though they have a declining number of patients.
GAO confirms the additional funds for San Francisco and New York would come out of the pockets of every other city in the country, including cities with rapidly increasing HIV/AIDS populations.
Senator Enzi spearheaded the 2006 reauthorization of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which provides funding to treat HIV/AIDS. The carefully negotiated formulas in the reauthorization distributed funds to treat HIV/AIDS more fairly across the country.
H.R. 3293 would undermine those carefully negotiated funding formulas and would actually allocate funds to San Francisco and New York based on flawed formulas that take into account deceased patients in those cities.
“This end run goes against the very core of the mission of the Ryan White reauthorization, which was to ensure that the money follows the patient so we can fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic of today, not yesterday,” Enzi said.
The GAO report is available here: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09947r.pdf.