Michael Emanuel Rajner

Members of Congress, 6 weeks left to Save Ryan White!

Filed By Michael Emanuel Rajner | August 25, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: HIV/AIDS, Ryan White CARE Act

Congress has less than 6 weeks to take action and extend the Ryan White Treatment Modernization Act of 2006 before it sunsets on September 30, 2009. Failure for Congress to act in a timely manner will have a devastating impact on future funding for many areas of the country and limit the access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS. Congress must take action when they return to Washington DC from their August recess and honor the memory of a young hero named Ryan White.

As our nation attempts to tackle meaningful healthcare reform, people living with HIV/AIDS have incredible unmet needs.

For many of us, our health and well-being are directly linked to the critical care, treatment and services provided through already underfunded Ryan White programs around the nation.

You must take action and call your U.S. House of Representative and U.S. Senators and urge them to act and extend the Ryan White program for 3 years before it expires on September 30, 2009.

Encourage your Member of Congress to sign the letter circulated by the CAEAR Coalition to demonstrate your Member's commitment and support for continued access to care, treatment and support for uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS.

Continue reading after the jump for the letter and how to take action:

Urge Your House Member to Sign Dear Colleague Letter
In Support of Three-Year Extension!

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) is circulating a sign-on letter among his House of Representatives colleagues in support of a three-year Ryan White Program extension that incorporates changes put forward in the community consensus document. Urge your member in the House to sign this letter and demonstrate their commitment to the Ryan White Program and those it serves in your community. (Remember that most Part A jurisdictions have multiple House reps, and all should be urged to sign). It is imperative that as many House members as possible sign the letter before Congress returns from the August recess. The letter, which is addressed to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, and to Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX), is copied below along with the note Rep. Johnson sent to his colleagues.

To sign the letter, your Member of Congress or his/her staff should contact:
Office of Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-4) at (202) 225-1605

--CAEAR Coalition
Subject: HealthCare: Dear Colleague: Support an Extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act
Support an Extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act
From: The Honorable Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr.

Dear Colleague,

I write to ask you to cosign the letter below, which calls on Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Barton to pass swiftly a three-year extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act. The current law expires on September 30th, 2009, and, without an extension, countless low-income Americans living with HIV/AIDS will lose critical benefits.

August XX, 2009

The Honorable Henry A. Waxman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0530

The Honorable Joe Barton
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
2109 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4306

Dear Chairman Waxman and Representative Barton:

We write to urge swift action on a three-year extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act that reflects the unified recommendations of over 275 HIV/AIDS organizations in 45 states across the country. This lifesaving legislation funds an array of innovative and effective services that form the healthcare safety net for uninsured and underinsured Americans living with HIV/AIDS. With the Act set to expire on September 30, 2009, it is imperative that Congress act to extend this landmark legislation well before that date to ensure that vital services are not withheld from people who so desperately need them.

Americans living with HIV/AIDS and those who care for them will be best served by a Ryan White Program that is extended for three years and is amended to include the recommendations that reflect an unprecedented consensus among those on the frontlines of the epidemic. The recommendations include (1) authorizing "such sums as necessary" for the program to ensure adequate funding, (2) updating the Requirement of Names-Based Reporting section to include fiscal years 2010 through 2012, (3) updating Sec. 2609 (c) Certain Eligiblity Rules under Title I of the current legislation to ensure that transitional grant areas retain their status and continuity of care is preserved, and other technical fixes detailed in the enclosed "HIV/AIDS Community Consensus on the Future of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act" <http://e-DearColleague.house.gov/DearColleague/Media/111/1st/file/Members/Johnson,%20Henry%20(GA04)/RyanWhiteConsensusJuly22%20(2).pdf >.

Timely extension of the legislation is essential to ensure that uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS do not experience a gap in the delivery of life-saving medical and supportive services as our nation transitions into a new health care environment. On behalf of our constituents living with HIV/AIDS who receive Ryan White services, we ask that you prioritize extending the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act before the September 30, 2009 deadline. Anything less will result in unfortunate consequences for low-income Americans living with HIV/AIDS.


Hank Johnson
Member of Congress

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