Delays In Reauthorizing Ryan White Care Act, Appropriating Ryan White Funds Must Stop
Statement of Christine Lubinski
Deputy Executive Director, AIDS Action Council
March 29, 1996
The landmark Ryan White CARE Act of 1990 was named in honor of a young man who, until his death in April 1990, courageously waged battle against, and helped increase awareness of, HIV disease. Ryan White's name, in that it is forever linked to this act, reminds us all that behind budget numbers and legislative formulas lie real people struggling to survive with this deadly virus, people who are in desperate need of services that can only be provided to them through the CARE Act. With the anniversary of Ryan's death fast approaching [April 8], AIDS Action calls on Congress to reauthorize this vital program in a form that not only reflects the needs of communities affected by AIDS in contemporary America, but is free of amendments that have no place in an act designed to serve Americans living with HIV and AIDS -- such as the a mandatory testing provision now under debate in House-Senate conference negotiations.
While CARE Act reauthorization is a priority, AIDS Action reminds Congress of its other pressing priority to appropriate fiscal year 1996 (FY96) Ryan White funding increases that have until now, and may again tonight, fall by the wayside in the ongoing budget impasse. In the past six months since the CARE Act expired, Congress has been unable to guarantee desperately needed emergency relief in communities hardest hit by the epidemic. Early intervention programs as well as home and community-based health care services for people living with HIV and AIDS have suffered dramatically as a consequence of congressional inaction. Efforts to provide HIV-infected Americans medical care, drug assistance and support services, as well as efforts to train health care providers cannot proceed in a climate of budgetary uncertainty and 60-day funding cycles. After six painful months of waiting and hoping, any further congressional intransigence is not only irresponsible, but unconscionable.
AIDS Action calls upon members of Congress to put aside their partisan differences and expeditiously appropriate the funds desperately needed to help people living with HIV and AIDS.
Founded in 1984, AIDS Action Council is the only national Organization devoted solely to advocating on federal AIDS policy, legislation and funding. AIDS Action represents more than 1,000 community-based AIDS service organizations throughout the United States.
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.