Wednesday, December 28, 2005

FY 2006 federal appropriations

I've been looking for the final word on the Labor HHS appropriations bill (H. R. 3010) passed by Congress shortly before Christmas (December 21), but can't see that it has actually been signed by the President. All of the gory details of its consideration by Congress are found here, including committee reports and amendments and something like a blow by blow description of parliamentary action. I'm guessing that this is where any final word about signing will also occur so that there will be a reference to a numbered Public Law.

In the meantime, I'm relying on reports from NASTAD regarding all of the appropriations related to HIV/AIDS. This includes their FY2006 Appropriations Chart for Federal HIV/AIDS Programs, FY2006 House Report Language Compilation, and FY2005 Senate Report Language. The bottom line is a slight increase in funding for ADAP ($10 million--when $303 million was needed) and level funding or actual cuts everywhere else (including cuts for prevention). The only place where significant increase occurred was for abstinence education (like that's going to make a difference).

Wherever there is a cut, we can, of course, expect a cut in services. Wherever there is level funding, there will not be enough money to cover rising demand for services or expansion of programs. Indeed, a contraction of programs will be required to stretch the funds available to meet the needs that present themselves. Even where there is an increase in funds, the amount of the increase is small. For states like Texas, the amount of increase is so small that it is little more than a rounding error. It certainly will not help with increased case loads or rising drug prices. Forget about new drugs.

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