April 4, 2001
-- Today, AIDS Action criticized the U.S. Senate for defeating the Baucus-Graham Amendment, a measure calling for increased funds for prescription drug coverage under Medicare. The amendment, which failed 50-50, would have more than doubled the funding proposed in the Administration's budget, to $311 billion towards providing a comprehensive Medicare prescription drug benefit.
"Medicare matters to people with HIV/AIDS. One in five people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States depends on Medicare for their health care," said Claudia French, executive Director of AIDS Action. "This legislation would have provided the resources necessary for a Medicare prescription drug benefit that would make a real difference for people with living with HIV/AIDS."
The amendment would have reduced the President's proposed tax cut by about 10 percent, allocating an additional $158 billion to provide a Medicare prescription drug benefit in order to accommodate the estimated costs of the proposals under consideration. The President's budget and the budget presented to the Senate only allocate $153 billion, far less than the estimated costs for even the most modest proposals.
AIDS Action working to educate Congress about how important Medicare is for people with HIV/AIDS and to ensure that the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS are considered in any changes to the Medicare program.