Burr and Other Senators Take Issue With Formula for AIDS Care Money
May 4, 2006
On Wednesday in Washington, several senators from Southern states met with reporters to press their case for changing the funding formula the federal government uses to distribute Ryan White CARE Act funds for HIV/AIDS patients. The act, which went into effect in 1990, is up for reauthorization this year.
The senators maintain that the act's funding formula favors cities with a population of more than 500,000 and at least 2,000 new AIDS cases in the past five years. States with few cities that qualify, such as North Carolina, get shortchanged, they said.
The senators admit that revamping the funding system will not be easy; however, they hope changing some definitions used in the act will help more cities qualify. The change would help North Carolina assist more of its citizens with HIV/AIDS, said Evelyn Foust, director of the state HIV/STD Care and Prevention program. Because of the limited amount of funds available to North Carolina, she said the state restricts eligibility, meaning those who make more than $13,000 are ineligible for services.
"The difference here is being felt in our abilities to help patients," Foust said. "If you can't put people in care and treatment programs, you can't prevent AIDS."
The formula for the reauthorization has not been completed, according to Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and other members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The bill is expected out of committee later this year.
05.04.06; Mary M. Shaffrey
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.