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Bill to
reauthorize AIDS funding introduced

Bill to
reauthorize AIDS funding introduced

The legislation would reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act, which expired last September.

U.S. Republican senator from Oklahoma Tom Coburn on Tuesday introduced a bill to reauthorize and amend the Ryan White CARE Act, reports the Daily Oklahoman. The law authorizing funds for HIV/AIDS care and services nationwide expired on September 30.

Coburn's bill calls for the creation of new funding formulas that would take into account HIV prevalence, require that 75% of CARE funding is spent on primary care, require that facilities that receive 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.

The legislation "prioritiz[es] early diagnosis and access to primary health care and treatment and increas[es] accountability for how funds are spent," Coburn said in a statement. The bill comes as the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee is holding hearings on the issue Wednesday. U.S. Republican representative from Florida Dave Weldon plans to introduce a companion measure in the House.

"This timely proposal will be an effective tool in ensuring the best use of federal dollars and improving delivery of HIV/AIDS care and services to those Americans most in need," AHF president Michael Weinstein said in a statement. But AIDS Project Los Angeles executive director Craig Thompson cautioned against what he describes as a "top-down funding scheme" that would affect how local jurisdictions spend Ryan White funds. (Advocate.com)

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