New York Counties File Lawsuit Against HHS to Prevent Funding Cuts Under Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization Bill
March 1, 2007
Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York state on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against HHS to prevent funding cuts for HIV/AIDS programs under the recently passed Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization Bill (HR 6143), the Long Island Newsday reports. Under previous CARE Act allocations, the counties received $6.1 million annually in funding for services for people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Newsday. However, previous CARE Act allocations were scheduled to run out on Wednesday, and HHS officials have said they will announce on Thursday how much the counties will receive under the reauthorization bill, the Newsday reports. Under the reauthorization bill, which was signed into law by President Bush in December 2006, Nassau and Suffolk counties and 33 other communities nationwide are placed into one category that will share $145 million in funding, down from $458 million under previous CARE Act allocations, because they are no longer considered eligible metropolitan areas. The suit seeks to restore Nassau and Suffolk counties' eligible metropolitan status. It also aims to procure for the counties a waiver for a provision of the bill that states 75% of funding be spent on core medical services, the Newsday reports. The counties typically use half of CARE Act funds on medical services because many HIV-positive people in the counties have health insurance. The remaining 50% in funds is used for support services, such as transportation to physician appointments, food vouchers and housing assistance. According to health officials, 13 of the counties' 42 programs would be permitted to continue under the new rule (Bonilla, Long Island Newsday, 2/28).
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