Log Cabin Republicans Calls On President Obama to Increase HIV/AIDS Funding
GOP Senators Burr, Coburn and Enzi Lead Fight to Increase Funding
(Washington, DC) - In advance of President Obama's announcement of the creation of a coordinated national strategy for the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Log Cabin Republicans challenges President Obama to fully fund the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) under the Ryan White CARE Act.
To address the crisis, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) have introduced the ACCESS ADAP Act (S. 3401), which provides $126 million in unobligated stimulus funds to fully eliminate waiting lists through 2010.
By contrast, the President's current proposal only provides for $25 million, failing to meet the needs of tens of thousands of individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
"I'm concerned that some in Washington seem to have forgotten that the 'E' in CARE Act stands for 'emergency.' It also seems that the Administration's delay and denial of life saving care to thousands of patients with HIV/AIDS sends a disturbing signal about how health care for millions of Americans may be rationed in the very near future due to cost concerns. Once again, Washington is focused on creating new programs rather than ensuring that existing programs are working as designed," stated Coburn.
Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper commented further, stating that, "The percentage of ADAP funds from federal sources has dramatically decreased under the Obama administration, while health care providers and medical professionals have noted a growing waiting list for access to ADAP. The ACCESS ADAP Act is a fiscally responsible way to address the critical funding shortfall."
"Never before have we seen so many individuals denied life-saving treatment under Ryan White. These patients are in need of our help, and I am hopeful that Congress and the Administration will act quickly to adequately address the ADAP waiting lists and undue formulary restrictions," said Senator Richard Burr and that "Right now, there are thousands of patients on waiting lists in need of life-saving medications. We must ensure that this growing problem is addressed in a manner sufficient to meet the needs of patients relying on this program for their life-saving medications."
Senator Mike Enzi, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said "We cannot allow thousands of Americans living with HIV/AIDS to be denied care when life-saving medical treatment could be provided by the Ryan White program. I want to work with the President to find a fiscally-responsible way to clear the waiting lists, and have joined my colleagues, Senator Coburn and Senator Burr, to provide a bill to do that without running up the debt. I commend the President for his efforts to reduce the waiting lists, but am deeply concerned that his proposal will not cover the full cost of the shortfall through Fiscal 2010. I welcome the President's support for our bill or his suggestions for a responsible alternative that Congress can support to end the delays and reach out to the most vulnerable patients living with HIV/AIDS."