Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act On Way To President

This afternoon, the House passed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act by a vote of 408 to 9. The Ryan White program has been serving people with AIDS and HIV for nearly two decades and currently provides care, treatment and support services to nearly half a million people — most of whom are low-income. Without this critical safety net, some of our nation's most vulnerable populations would not receive the care and treatment they need and rightfully deserve. There are more than 50,000 new HIV/AIDS infections reported each year in America and according to the CDC, approximately 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV/AIDS. All parts of the Ryan White program have been in desperate need of increased funding for the past three years, and this bill increases the authorization level for each part of the Ryan White program by 5 percent a year for the next four years. The Senate passed the bill earlier this week so the bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

Speaker Pelosi on today’s passage:

As everyone knows, San Francisco was hit early and hard by the devastation of AIDS. But San Franciscans responded to the needs of our neighbors by developing a system of community-based care that became the model for the Ryan White CARE Act when it was first enacted in 1990.

Today, Ryan White-funded initiatives are a fundamental component of the systems of care upon which low-income individuals with HIV and AIDS rely. Declines in AIDS deaths are a direct result of the therapies and services that have been made more widely available through the Ryan White Act to large numbers of uninsured and under-insured people living with HIV and AIDS.

Each year, this legislation ensures access to lifesaving medical services, including pharmaceuticals, for more than 500,000 clients — almost half of the individuals living with HIV/AIDS in this country. Reauthorizing the Ryan White Act will continue to increase access to primary care and medications by providing additional resources and facilitating the transition to HIV reporting.

The Ryan White Act has always focused on establishing and maintaining effective systems of health care. This means avoiding drastic cuts that destabilize existing resources.

For this reason, many of us were disappointed when the Bush Administration implemented the 2006 reauthorization in a way that caused severe cuts to several jurisdictions, including the San Francisco Eligible Metropolitan Area. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans objected to correcting these implementation flaws in this reauthorization. However, I remain committed to responding to these needs through the appropriations process, as we have done each year since the Bush Administration first attempted to impose these destabilizing cuts.

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.