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Senator Coburn calls for adjustments to Ryan White Act

Senator Coburn calls for adjustments to Ryan White Act

U.S. senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, last week called on Congress to correct imbalances in the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides federal AIDS funds throughout the country, in order to stop "shortchanging" regions of the country with high numbers of HIV patients who have not progressed to AIDS, "CQ Healthbeat" reports. Current formulas for allocating Ryan White funds use the number of people who have AIDS to determine which areas get the most funding. But Coburn, speaking at a Senate homeland security and governmental Affairs subcommittee on federal financial management, government information, and international security, called that appropriations formula unfair and says it "ignores the vast majority of those living with HIV." "Tens of millions of CARE Act dollars go unspent annually in some jurisdictions while other states find themselves faced with cutting patients' access to AIDS drugs," he added. The current funding formula also doesn't take into account trends in HIV infections to best allocate prevention funds to regions where HIV rates are rising rapidly, Coburn says. The Ryan White CARE Act is up for reauthorization by Congress this year. Coburn hopes lawmakers will be able to adjust the appropriations formula during the reauthorization process to better allocate AIDS funds to the regions that most need them.

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