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What's New in Policy?
Excerpts From Hotline Memos of April 2000
from the Information Department of Project Inform

May, 2000

Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization Underway

Treatment Action Network Alert
Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization Underway

Urge Your Senators to Support S. 2311!

Reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act cleared its first hurdle when S. 2311 was recently approved unanimously by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The Ryan White CARE Act provides healthcare and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. It also funds the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides access to lifesaving therapies for people with inadequate or no health insurance, who otherwise are not able to afford them. The CARE Act is due to expire on September 30, 2000 and needs to be "reauthorized", or renewed, by Congress and signed by the President.

The Senate reauthorization bill—authored by Senators Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and Jeffords (R-Vermont)—leaves much of the current bill language intact. It also includes some improvements, such as the development of minimum standards to ensure high quality care for all CARE act recipients. The House of Representatives has not yet acted on its version.

A strong showing of support by many Senators is needed to encourage Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to bring the issue up for debate and a vote by the full U.S. Senate in May or June. Because this is an election year, the legislative calendar is short, and there is less time available for debate and voting.

It is essential that the Ryan White CARE Act be reauthorized quickly so that access to important services is not jeopardized!


Action Needed:

Please call or write your U.S. Senator this week. Urge him/her to support S. 2311 and to do everything in his or her power to make sure it is passed by the Senate. You can use the following sample messages to help craft your statement.

Sample phone message:

"I am calling to urge Senator__________________ to supprt S. 2311. This bill, authored by Senators Kennedy and Jeffords, would reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act. The CARE Act provides critical health care and treatment services for people living with HIV/AIDS. I urge Senator________________ to do everything in his/her power to ensure the renewal of this lifesaving legislation."

Sample letter:
(Can be sent via fax, e-mail, or regular mail)

The Honorable _______________

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator______________

I am writing to urge you to support S. 2311 (Kennedy/Jeffords). This legislation would reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act, which is due to expire on September 30, 2000. The CARE Act provides health care, treatment, and support services for tens of thousands of individuals living with HIV/AIDS nationwide.

INSERT PERSONAL STATEMENT HERE. IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT USES RYAN WHITE CARE ACT SERVICES—THIS INCLUDES THE AIDS DRUG ASSISTANCE PROGRAM—MENTION THAT HERE

The Ryan White CARE Act must be reauthorized by September 30, 2000, to ensure that access to these critical services isn't jeopardized. Please demonstrate your support for people living with HIV/AIDS by supporting S. 2311 and doing everything in your power to make sure it is passed by the Senate.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Your name


Contact Information:

You can reach your Senators through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can find contact information for all U.S. Senators, including email addresses, on Project Inform's website at www.projectinform.org/org/FedLegislative/.


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