House passes bill flat-funding Ryan White Act
The House of Representatives on Thursday voted 388-13 to approve a health, labor, and education spending bill for fiscal 2005 that includes flat funding for the Ryan White Act. The program funds more than 2,700 HIV providers and care clinics that serve more than 500,000 HIV-positive Americans. AIDS activists say freezing funding at fiscal 2004 levels, coupled with rising health care costs and antiretroviral drug prices and a constant influx of new HIV patients entering care and support services funded by Ryan White money, results in a net loss of financial support. "Considering the devastating impact that HIV continues to have on young people and their families, now is not the time to shortchange critical domestic HIV/AIDS programs, including Ryan White," said Mark Isaac, vice president of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, in a press release. "We call on the Senate to do a better job of protecting the health of children and adults with HIV/AIDS." The Senate is expected to vote on Ryan White funding later this fall.