PWN-USA Responds to the President’s Budget Proposal to Eliminate Ryan White Part D
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Olivia Ford, firstname.lastname@example.org / 347.553.5174
February 3, 2015 – Brooklyn, NY – This Groundhog Day, the forecast for women with HIV looks bleak. Yesterday, President Obama’s budget for 2016 was released: Following last year’s disturbing precedent, the budget yet again proposes the elimination of Part D of the Ryan White HIV Program, which serves women, infants, children, and youth living with HIV. Positive Women’s Network – USA is deeply concerned about this proposal and demands to see the evidence that drove this recommendation. From the Ryan White Program to the whole spectrum of care for people with HIV, services and care designed to meet women’s needs are not disposable.
Part D-funded programs provide coordinated care and support services to women and youth living with HIV who may be juggling caregiving responsibilities to family members and children. While not all women living with HIV are eligible to receive care through Part D, more than 90,000 women, young people and family members access Part D services each year, according to a report by the AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth and Families, which has criticized the proposed cuts in the past. These programs often function as crucial entry points into care for underinsured women living with HIV — and for youth, the fastest growing population living with HIV in the U.S. Last year, following an outcry from the community, Congress rejected this proposal.
“As a woman living with HIV, it appears as if the unique, coordinated care and services provided by Part D programs are of little concern to the President and his Administration, when the reality is that these services are vital to our survival,” says Janet Kitchen, a member of PWN-USA who accessed case management and specialty health services through Part D early in her diagnosis, and now serves as a consumer quality advisor to a Part D program in Florida.
Under the President’s proposed 2016 budget, Ryan White Part C, which funds medical and early intervention services, would absorb Part D-allocated funds and receive a $4 million-dollar increase. The proposed 2016 budget eliminates any prioritization of women in Ryan White funding, consequently erasing the unique needs of women, children, and youth in receiving care and services. The budget does not contain any information on what portion of these dollars would fund services for women, children and youth, and what range of services would be covered.
“The President is clearly aligning his budget with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy – which failed not only to prioritize women in its metrics, but even to mention issues that significantly impact the health and wellbeing of women living with and vulnerable to acquiring HIV, such as sexual and reproductive health, intimate partner violence, and trauma,” says PWN-USA Executive Director Naina Khanna.
Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s HIV care continuum illustrates that only 41% of women living with HIV nationally are retained in care, 77% of female Ryan White Program clients stay in care, according to a report by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). These successes must be maintained and expanded if the U.S. is to reach the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s goals of increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV.
“While we are pleased to see increases in other important areas, such as funding for housing, hepatitis, and HIV prevention, dismantling services proven to work well for women with HIV at this critical moment — as we are still assessing the best ways for the Ryan White program to effectively wrap around Affordable Care Act implementation — will not help achieve the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” Khanna adds.
At a critical moment when the Affordable Care Act is already changing health care delivery for people living with HIV, the Ryan White Program needs to remain stable, not be taken apart.
Perspectives on Last Year’s Proposal, from PWN-USA Members and Staff:
- Healthy Women Make Healthy Communities: Reflections on a Time Before Ryan White Part D, By Margot Kirkland-Isaac – May 10, 2014
- We Still Need Family-Centered Programs for Women With HIV: My Part D Story, By Evany Turk – May 12, 2014
- Why Now Is a Terrible Time to Disrupt Care for Women Living With HIV, By Olivia Ford, RH Reality Check, May 16, 2014
- Meeting with Legislators to Advance Women-Centered Care & Services (click link and scroll down to “Past Webinars”) – June 26, 2014