Jeffords Unveils Bipartisan Ryan
White Reauthorization Bill
Senator James Jeffords (VT), Chairman, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, last week introduced bipartisan legislation that would reauthorize federal AIDS prevention and treatment programs. While The Ryan White CARE Act Amendments of 2000 (S. 2311), does not contain broad sweeping programmatic adjustments, it does address improving access to care in under served urban and rural areas by doubling the minimum base funding available to states through the CARE Act and includes supplemental state funding that will target assistance to rural and under served areas to help them address the increasing number of people with HIV/AIDS living outside of urban areas that receive assistance under Title I.
The bill also provides supplemental funding to strengthen the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and requires quality management activities to ensure compliance with Public Health Services guidelines. Senator Jeffords has indicated every intention of passing this legislation this year. Co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Edward Kennedy (MA), ranking member; Orrin Hatch, (UT); Michael Enzi, (WY); and Paul Wellstone, (Minn).
The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Relief Emergency (CARE) Act, enacted in 1990 and reauthorized in 1996, provides funds to state and local governments to support care and treatment for the thousands of Americans living with HIV/AIDS. CARE Act programs according a new General Accounting Office (GAO), are currently serving an estimated 600,000 persons annually and have contributed to the significant drop in new AIDS cases. The services provided by the CARE Act have also contributed to the decrease in AIDS-related deaths of 42 percent between 1996 and 1997 and 20 percent from 1997 to 1998.
The CARE Act provides assistance through four program titles and through Part F which includes the AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETC) Program, the HIV/AIDS Dental Reimbursement Program, and the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Program. Title I of the CARE Act provides grants to eligible metropolitan areas (EMAs) hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic of which there are 51 emergency eligible metropolitan areas. Title II provides grants to all States and territories and, starting in FY 1996, an earmarked appropriation for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Title III provides funding for public and private nonprofit entities, such as community and migrant health centers, to support early intervention services for people with HIV. Title IV supports public and private nonprofit entities to provide comprehensive systems of care for children, youth, women, and families including medical care, social services and access to clinical research.
AIDS is the leading cause of death among African-Americans between the ages of 25 and 44, and the fifth leading cause of death among all Americans in this age group. Itís estimated that more than 600,000 Americans have been diagnosed with AIDS, more than 400,000 have died of the disease, and more than 750,000 persons are living with HIV/AIDS in the United States.