Southern Senators Call for Funding Calculation Changes in Rural States in Ryan White Reauthorization Bill
May 8, 2006
Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) at a news conference on Thursday called for changes in funding calculations under the Ryan White CARE Act that would affect the distribution of funding to states without many large urban areas, the Birmingham News reports (Orndorff, Birmingham News, 5/4). Coburn in March introduced a bill (S 2339) that would reauthorize and amend the act, which expired on Sept. 30, 2005. The measure would create new funding formulas that take into account HIV prevalence; require that 75% of CARE Act funding is spent on primary care; require that facilities receiving federal funding conduct mandatory HIV testing; and increase annual funding for AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals. Under the current law, areas with large numbers of HIV/AIDS patients receive more funding. A 2005 Government Accountability Office report finds that some funding calculations favor states with larger urban areas because the system counts AIDS patients twice in 51 metropolitan areas (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/1). According a Burr release, Alabama receives $3,657 in federal funding per AIDS patient, while California receives $5,264 per patient (Burr release, 5/3). However, a report released last month by the not-for-profit organization Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief finds the distribution of CARE Act funding to be more balanced than what the GAO report says. Lawmakers from California, New Jersey and New York late last month criticized the proposed changes to the funding calculations, saying they could move millions of dollars in HIV/AIDS funding from the Northeastern and Western U.S. to the South (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/1).
Senators' Comments, Reaction
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