Yesterday, the US House of Representatives approved a re-authorization of the Ryan White Care Act, 408 votes for and 9 against. The bill will now be sent to the White House for President Obama to sign, as it has already passed in the US Senate. The bill, which allocates funds to programs providing treatment to low-income individuals living with HIV and AIDS, includes several important features in addition to its usual provisions.
The authorization allows for four more years of funding, with benchmarks associated with that funding to measure progress. It includes a very helpful clause that prevents precipitous drops in funding to districts that report substantial decreases in caseloads from year to year. The bill is also interesting in that it enjoys largely bipartisan support — a welcome change from the partisan rancor over health care during the past several months.
The re-authorization also requires that states report AIDS and HIV diagnosis by name by 2013, although states are permitted to use “code-based data until then at a penalty.” This non-confidential reporting should be an issue to investigate as the debate over healthcare reform continues.
-Until There’s A Cure