It is our understanding that an amendment to repeal the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) may be offered to the House FY 98 Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill. The Treasury Postal Subcommittee was scheduled to "mark-up" the bill today, but was postponed to a later date. This gives us some time to make sure that we voice strong opposition to repealing FASA outright and/or to any restrictions in the programs implementation which exclude prescription drugs.
FASA authorizes state and local agencies to purchase products and services at reduced prices that are currently available only to federal agencies. This program would allow public hospitals, state and local health departments and state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) to potentially take advantage of even greater discounts than are now available to federally qualified health centers and some ADAP programs under the PHS 340-B pricing program. If implemented, this program could offer cost savings of between 31 percent and 62 percent on
major HIV drugs.
As you may already know, President Clinton last week signed the supplemental appropriations bill, which included language imposing a moratorium on implementation of FASA through the end of this session of Congress. This moratorium was put in place in the hopes that hearings on FASA could be held over the course of the summer. The hearings offered AIDS organizations and representatives of state and local government an opportunity to speak to the merits of this program. Unfortunately, it now appears that certain industry interests are bent on repealing FASA through the appropriations process, before there is even an opportunity for state and local government entities to benefit from the program.
YOUR CALLS ARE NEEDED TO LET CONGRESS KNOW THAT FASA SHOULD NOT BE REPEALED AND THAT HEARINGS MUST BE HELD TO EXAMINE THE MERITS OF FASA.
Action: Call and Fax the members listed below.
Urge them to:
* Oppose any amendment to repeal FASA outright or any restriction on the program that excludes prescription drugs - especially HIV/AIDS -related drugs.
* Hold hearings to study the impact of FASA and to allow AIDS groups, state, and local governments to testify on the merits of the program.
Remind them that:
* The new drug therapies for HIV disease are highly expensive and that states are already struggling to get the drugs to the people who need them.
* FASA is a federal and local partnership to enhance the ability of local governments and communities to use their scarce resources more effectively and efficiently.
* In this tough budgetary climate, FASA is a potential tool for the federal government to get life-saving medications to people living with HIV/AIDS who otherwise would go without.
Full Appropriations Committee:
Rep. Livingston (R-LA), Appropriations Committee Chair/225-3015/225-0739
Rep. Obey (D-WI), Ranking Minority Member/225-3365/ no fax listed
Treasury Postal Appropriation Subcommittee:
Rep. Kolbe (R-AZ), Chairman/225-2542/225-0378
Rep. Wolf (R-VA)/225-5136/225-0437
Rep. Hoyer (D-MD), Ranking Minority Member/225-4131/225-4300
Rep. Meek (D-FL)/225-4506/226-0777
Rep. Price (D-NC)/225-1784/225-2014
Government and Reform and Oversight Committee
Rep. Burton, Chairman/225-2276/225-0016
Call your Representatives as well and urge them to contact Rep. Livingston, Obey, Kolbe, Hoyer, and Burton to express their opposition to repealing FASA and to urge hearings on the program.
Call the House switchboard at (202) 225-3121 to be connected to your Representative's office. Then let us know what your Representative says!
For more information, contact:
(202) 986-1300 Ext. 3042
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300, extension 3053