Policy & Politics
Michigan: GOP Lawmaker Wants to End HIV Prevention Funding
January 26, 2011
State Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville) has proposed diverting funding away from HIV prevention and related health initiatives toward upkeep and expansion projects at the state's airports.
The Michigan Health Fund Initiative is funded by the state Department of Community Health (DCH) under a law that directs a small percentage of sales tax revenues to the program. Through distributions to public and private agencies, MHFI supports HIV prevention, testing, and care programs; STD contact tracing services; research on effective health promotion campaigns; and laboratory services for the Detroit Health Department. It also provides prevention programming for chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
According to Agema, the services funded by MHFI are also paid for by DCH's budget. "This is almost like double-dipping," he said.
Agema also questions the initiative's management of funds. MHFI's approximately $9 million budget, $5.7 million is spent on administrative costs.
Agema, a former airline pilot, wants to shift the money to the Michigan Aeronautics Fund, which would pay for runway and building maintenance and airport expansions to accommodate more cargo freight. The state will receive $9.50 in federal funds for every $1 spent it spends on airports, he noted. "There's not a better job creator," he added.
AIDS advocates question the wisdom of Agema's proposal. "HIV, [STD] and pregnancy prevention fall into an area of community health that is already grossly underfunded even while the need for such prevention programs fails to diminish," said Emily Dievendorf, policy director of Equality Michigan. The state has 14,371 HIV/AIDS cases.
"It's too early in the budget priority setting process to make a decision/determination and we haven't yet seen any of the specifics of this bill," said Geralyn Lasher, spokesperson for Gov. Rick Snyder (R).
01.18.2011; Todd A. Heywood
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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