Perhaps preoccupied by the GOP man-boy love case in the lower house, the U.S. Senate over the weekend failed to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act and with it about $6 million annually that helps Orange County deal with a growing HIV population and increasing number of AIDS cases, alerts the AIDS Services Foundation of Orange County. The foundation notes that federal funding patterns typically show Orange County getting less dollars as more is diverted to regions with higher HIV/AIDS rates. Extending Ryan White would have at least maintained OC's $6 million--which still would have been stretched ever more thinly due to the higher population/case numbers mentioned earlier. The Senate was considering a House-approved bill sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono (R-Palm Springs) that re-jiggered the funding formulas to help rural areas experiencing increasing numbers of HIV/AIDS cases. That initially caused alarm among California's Senate delegation, as it was thought increases for rural areas would come at the expense of urban areas where HIV has traditionally been most prevalent. After being assured that the Golden State would not be harmed under the new funding formulas, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer dropped their opposition. However, their sister in left-leaning arms from the Big Apple, Sen. Hillary "I'm With Stupid" Clinton, continued her opposition, saying, "A bill that devastates the ability of high-prevalence communities to deal with cases is unacceptable. . . . You want to take money away from my 100,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and give it to worthy people in other parts of the country because this administration and this Congress won't put more money into funding treatment programs for HIV and AIDS." Okay, she has a point, but now she has assured no funding from this lame-duck Senate session. It is expected Ryan White will have to be reintroduced and, hopefully, reauthorized next year. "Low-income and uninsured people with HIV depend on Ryan White programs as their only source of medical care, support services and prescriptions," Thomas Peterson, director of public policy for AIDS Services Foundation of Orange County says in press statement. "This delay places their care at risk and threatens the stability of systems of care, which are absorbing increasing numbers of people every year."
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