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Ryan White Act Passes House, Obama to Sign

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act by a vote of 408-9, sending the bill to President Barack Obama's desk.

The Senate approved the legislation last week and the president is expected to sign it based on a Statement of Administration Policy that encouraged passage of the legislation.

The bill -- a product of bipartisan, bicameral compromise -- will fund critical HIV/AIDS treatment and some prevention programs through 2013 at about $2.5 billion annually, a 5% increase for all sections of the act.

The program helps about 500,000 mostly low-income and uninsured people living with AIDS/HIV annually, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi of California hailed the legislation's passage. "Today, Ryan White-funded initiatives are a fundamental component of the systems of care upon which low-income individuals with HIV and AIDS rely," Pelosi said in a statement. "The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act continues our commitment to hundreds of thousands of low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. In doing so, we will save lives, save money, and help create a healthier America."

The Ryan White CARE Act, named after a teenager who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, was originally passed in 1990 and has since been extended three times.

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