January 20, 2011
AIDS Alliance Policy & Advocacy Update–January 2011
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and efforts are also underway to attempt to reduce non-security discretionary spending limits to fiscal year 2008 levels. The vote to cut government spending is expected as early as next week.
Both votes are largely symbolic.
While the passage of yesterday’s health reform repeal vote in the House was expected, there are not enough votes to pass repeal in the Senate. And, even if repeal were to pass the Senate, President Obama would veto the bill. It would then take a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to override the President’s veto.
The upcoming House vote on a resolution to reduce government spending is equally symbolic–offering Republicans in the House the opportunity to put the chamber on record in favor of the Republican leader’s pledge to drastically reduce government spending.
Although both votes are symbolic, AIDS Alliance recognizes the devastating impact that a full repeal of, or incremental chipping away at health care reform and/or a reduction in government spending to 2008 levels would have on the HIV/AIDS community. As the current Congress continues its work in 2011, AIDS Alliance will rely on our advocates to assist us in continuing the important work of communicating our support for reform and for the continued funding of the programs and services that benefit women, children, youth and families who are living with or who are at risk for HIV/AIDS.
The work over the next two years will be incremental and continuous, requiring that advocacy groups such as AIDS Alliance and other organizations diligently monitor legislative efforts to identify real threats to health care reform and to ensure that resources for Ryan White programs and other HIV services are maintained.
You will recall that federal programs, including Ryan White, continue to operate at 2010 funding levels through a continuing resolution that expires on March 4, 2011. As we approach that date, we are meeting with legislators to discuss with them the importance of optimal funding for Ryan White programs in the fiscal year 2011 budget and to educate policymakers about the critical role of Ryan White Part D programs. We understand the on-going need for increases for Part D programs, and in this current fiscal environment we are dedicated to not only delivering that message, but also protecting Ryan White Part D funding from any potential reductions in 2011 or 2012 budgets.
We will keep you informed and continue to call on you as your voice and actions are required to protect health care reform and Ryan White funding.
Continuing to visit with your elected officials is something we encourage. Please contact us if you need help organizing a visit in your local community. Plan to participate in a national advocacy effort. AIDS Watch is upcoming February 16-18, 2011 here in Washington DC. Go to http://www.napwa.org for more information and to register. AIDS Alliance Advocacy Day is May 24, 2011–save the date!