Friday, September 29, 2006

Press Statement by Rep. Gregory W. Meeks on HR 6143, The Ryan White Re-Authorization

To: National Desk

Contact: Candace Sandy, 718-725-6000 or 718-683-4209,
for Rep. Gregory W. Meeks

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Last night,
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), along with the entire
New York delegation, voted against the bill that
reauthorizes the Ryan White Care Act, which provides
federal funding for HIV/AIDS related primary health
care programs and services.

"Under this bill’s funding formulary, New York City
will experience devastating cuts in funding to
established programs that provide critical services to
our most needy HIV/AIDS population. Minorities, the
poor, the uninsured and under-insured will most
seriously suffer" stated Meeks. "It will change the
way that the money is distributed, providing more
funding to states that are beginning to experience
increasing numbers of HIV positive persons, by taking
funding away from the cities most historically and
disproportionately affected by the pandemic."

More than half of all people living with AIDS in the
United States live in five states. Three of the states
with the highest prevalence in the nation (NY, NJ and
FL) will lose significant funding. It is estimated
that New York City will lose $17.8 million in the
first year and will likely experience more devastating
losses in the subsequent four years of the
reauthorization.

"The real problem is that HIV/AIDS is terribly
underfunded under this bill, forcing states to compete
against each other. My colleague, Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY)
offered an amendment in committee that would have
increased authorization to correct the problems. The
amendment failed, with most of the Republicans on the
committee voting against it. It was then placed on the
suspension calendar, which requires that the bill pass
by 2/3 of the House and does not allow amendments to
be considered."

Although most of the Representatives from the states
facing losses voted against the bill, it passed in the
House by 325-98. "This bill determines the life or
death of thousands of New Yorkers living with
HIV/AIDS. If it passes in the Senate with no increase
in funding or a more equitable distribution of funding
considered, New York’s healthcare community and
HIV/AIDS population will face catastrophic losses."

Congressman Meeks plans to lead a press conference on
this issue in his district at the AIDS Center of
Queens County at 97- 45 Queens Blvd, Rego Park on
Thursday, October 12, 2006, 9:30 a.m. Meeks will
continue his commitment to addressing the HIV/AIDS
crisis by inviting hundreds of children, women and men
to an interactive HIV/AIDS Congressional Town Hall at
York College on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 in
partnership with Queens Hospital Center, Queens HIV
Care Network, Black Entertainment Televisions'
Rap-It-Up campaign among other community partners. For
more information contact Ida Smith at Congressman
Meeks' district office at 718-725-6000.

http://www.usnewswire.com/

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/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

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