AIDS Alliance Policy & Advocacy Update–June 2011







AIDS Alliance Policy & Advocacy Update–June 2011

Aids Alliance

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June 24, 2011


AIDS Alliance Policy & Advocacy Update–June 2011



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Hello Everyone,

 

Here’s a little policy (and opinion) update from D.C. Thanks to all who participated in VOICES Advocacy Day on May 24—it was a huge success. More than 150 consumers and providers visited their elected officials. A BIG thank you to those that participated. You are an inspiration.  We’ll be issuing a summary report on that soon. Advocates talked to legislators and staff about the importance of Ryan White programs, expanding ADAP, maintaining Medicaid and protecting the promise of health care reform. To see the information that your advocates discussed with legislators click here.

 

Meanwhile here’s an update on some important issues:

 

  • In May at VOICES, the Board of Directors of AIDS Alliance approved and adopted the 2011 Policy Priorities for AIDS Alliance, as they were developed by our Public Policy Committee. They are robust and reflect our mission: “To advance the partnership between Providers and Consumers and to be the voice of women, children, youth and families living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.”  Click here to view them.

 

  • Appropriations: On April 15, 2011 the FY 2011 budget was finally signed into effect and Ryan White Part D received $77.3 mil in FY 2011—basically level funding from FY 2010: ($77.6 mil). That small decrease of $300,000 is for the entire Part D program and likely won’t even be felt at the site level. It represents the Part D portion of the 0.2% “tax” that was leveled across all HHS programs to support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy implementation. The FY 2012 budget discussions continue. The FY12 budget should be passed before September 30 as the budget year begins on October 1, but we know what happened this year: the FY11 budget wasn’t signed until nearly six months later. This year could be as convoluted. The budget will be tied to upcoming debt ceiling/balanced budget amendment votes (likely to start in early August). This is further flaming the threats of significant budget cuts to offset the debt ceiling increase. We are working within the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership—the national coalition of HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations—to advocate for very modest increases to Ryan White overall based on existing legislative language. When the Ryan White Care Act was reauthorized in 2009, it included language that allowed for 5% increases for each Part each year—the amount was actually spelled out in the reauthorization law. However, you’ll recall the Authorization language or law is really more of a suggestion when it comes to funding – it’s Appropriations (aka the Budget process) that determines the amount each year. The Authorization language said Part D should have $83.1 mil in FY12. While we realize this is a difficult “ask” in this environment, we feel it is justified based on increased patient numbers, the complexity and multiple problems of many Ryan White clients and  the many years of level funding and state and local cuts. I guess it’s all in your perspective of how we as a country spend billions and billions of dollars each month. All in all—$83 million/year to provide comprehensive family centered medical care and support services  to 89,000 women, children, youth and families is a drop in the bucket—now isn’t it? I know I’m supposed to say that in this economic climate, level funding will be a major win….maybe—but it’s not right. You can see the chart of the full FY10 FY11 FY12 appropriations for all HIV/AIDS programs on our website.

 

  • Action alerts: Recently we asked you to contact your Senator to support Sen. Gillibrand’s “Dear Colleague”  supporting an increase in HIV AIDS funding in FY12 budget in order to reduce new HIV infections, provide necessary care and treatment and invest in new HIV research. The full text of that short yet powerful letter is on our website. Unfortunately only six Senators signed on (Gillibrand, Schumer, Blumenthal, Lautenberg, Merkley, Mikulski)—but many more were educated through your phone calls and emails. Thanks for your effort and we will keep at it.

 

–Carole Treston