of note

via towleroad

see also: HRC

from the San Francisco Bay Times

. . . even though Bush has repeatedly called for the Act’s renewal, Congress adjourned this year without approving the new funding for Ryan White. Until lawmakers return in 2006, the program will exist under its previous budget and what is considered an outdated system for allocating resources.

Enacted in 1990 to cover those who did not qualify for Medicaid, Ryan White has had increasing demands put upon it as the epidemic has spread and the anti-retroviral boon ensured more people remained alive to draw on its resources. The program provides comprehensive services including primary and home health care, case management, substance abuse treatment and nutritional and housing services. Also, through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) it provides HIV-related medications to those without access to such drugs.

The measure is nowhere near being robust enough to handle the nation’s HIV-positive population. “It needs another 300 million alone in the ADAP part just to keep up with the number of people who could qualify for help,” said Bill Arnold, Director of the Title II Community AIDS National Network. “This year it got only 10 million dollars.”

President Bush allocated $25 million in his dollars for the act’s ADAP provision. Congress cut the amount to 10 million dollars. The entire Ryan White Program was granted no increased funding. “This amounts to cutting the program’s budget once you factor in the number of additional people enrolled, inflation and the rising cost of healthcare,” Arnold said.

Ryan White, unlike many other government programs also receives budgetary funding only every five years, making it unable to respond to increased needs on a yearly basis. With an annual 40,000 new infections in the U.S. alone this assures Ryan White will always operate at full capacity and still not reach everyone who needs it.

“This isn’t just a Republican problem. It’s as difficult to get Democrats to bring up AIDS as well.”
- Carl Schmid, Federal Affairs Director/AIDS Institute

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