Policy & Politics
Lancet Examines Concerns That Obama Administration Could Flat-Line PEPFAR Funding
April 17, 2009
President Obama's administration in its fiscal year 2010 budget proposal could flat-line global HIV/AIDS funding at its current level of $5.3 billion, some congressional aides and lobbyists said recently, the Lancet reports. According to the Lancet, the possible funding freeze for global health programs such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief might indicate that Obama's "stated goal of expanding prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in poor countries could be on hold" because of the current economic downturn. Although the administration is expected to submit its FY 2010 budget proposal in May, Congress ultimately will determine U.S. funding allocations for PEPFAR, the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and other global health initiatives. According to the Lancet, final approval of the budget likely will occur during the summer or fall.
According to the Lancet, many final decisions about PEPFAR and other global health programs could be delayed until Obama fills key administration posts, such as the global HIV/AIDS coordinator, which has been vacant since January when the administration asked former PEPFAR coordinator Mark Dybul to step down. Smita Baruah, director of government relations at the Global Health Council, said, "In the absence of a coordinator, a lot of this will be put on hold." Baruah added, "It may be that fiscal year 2010 is a holding pattern, and you really turn to fiscal 2011 for real policy." A senior Republican Senate aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said government decisions on the foreign operations budget are not yet final. "We're telling people, don't freak out yet. It's a long way from done," the aide said (Zwillich, Lancet, 4/18).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.