Six Reasons Why Obama’s Proposal To Cut PEPFAR Funding Should Be Rejected By Congress

In this post in The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Chris Collins, vice president and director of public policy for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, responds to a recently released analysis of adult mortality rates in African countries, which “found that between 2004 and 2008, in those nations where the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was most active, the odds of death were about 20 percent lower than in other countries in the region.” He writes, “It was one more piece in the growing collection of evidence that PEPFAR has been a tremendously successful program, advancing U.S. humanitarian and diplomatic priorities and saving millions of lives.” Collins continues, “That is why the proposal in President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget to cut bi-lateral HIV programming through PEPFAR by nearly $550 million, or 11 percent, has stunned so many on Capitol Hill and in the global health community.”

He provides “six reasons why this proposal should be rejected by Congress.” According to Collins, “It undermines the goal of an ‘AIDS-free generation'” set forth in a statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last November; “It proposes worse than a zero sum game for global health”; “It undermines America’s investments in health”; “It is bad fiscal policy”; “It is bad politics,” as “the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll on global health spending found that in 2010, … 65 percent of Americans said U.S. spending on global health was ‘too little’ or ‘about right'”; and “It is bad diplomacy,” as “PEPFAR has boosted support for the U.S. overseas, winning praise from political leaders and demonstrating America’s commitment to advancing the well-being of people around the world.” Collins concludes, “By funding [PEPFAR] at least at its current level, Congress can advance U.S. humanitarian and diplomatic interests, and change the course of the epidemic” (3/13).

Additional information on the global health aspects of the FY 2013 White House budget request is available from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Policy Tracker.

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