NMAC Press Release: Ryan Budget Spells Disaster for Americans Living with HIV/AIDS

April 14, 2011

Ryan Budget Spells Disaster for Americans Living With HIV/AIDS Medicare and Medicaid Overhaul Would Devastate People Living with HIV/AIDS

Washington, DC — Today, the House of Representatives begins debate on Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed GOP budget for fiscal year 2012, in which he put forward approximately $6.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade. Despite its moniker, “The Path to Prosperity,” Chairman Ryan’s budget would wreak havoc on America’s poor and middle class, especially those living with HIV/AIDS.

While dismissing any tax increases, and actually proposing additional tax cuts, Chairman Ryan achieves the bulk of his “savings” through massive overhauls of Medicaid and Medicare. He would cut almost $800 million from Medicaid, while capping federal contributions to the program and would essentially transform Medicare into a voucher program where patients would be forced to purchase their own private insurance. Both reforms would simply shift costs to patients and states already struggling to make ends meet.

While doing nothing to bring down the skyrocketing costs of health care in America, Chairman Ryan and his colleagues simply propose limiting the amount the federal government contributes to the health care of its most vulnerable citizens. With more than 60 percent of Americans living with HIV and AIDS receiving their health care through these programs, this budget could spell disaster for our nation’s response to the epidemic.

“In his proposal, Chairman Ryan states that our nation’s social safety net ‘should never… [lull] able-bodied citizens into lives of complacency and dependency,'” said NMAC Deputy Executive Director Daniel C. Montoya. “While this red meat may satisfy his base, it has little connection to reality. Medicare and Medicaid are essential programs that safeguard the health of all Americans, including those living with HIV/AIDS. Placing the burden of his $6 trillion cuts on the backs of our nation’s vulnerable is inhumane and un-American.”

The proposal would also repeal expansions to Medicaid included in health care reform last year, which would expand program eligibility to all Americans earning at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

“Medicare and Medicaid are the largest providers of health care for Americans living with HIV and AIDS,” continued Montoya. “As we approach the 30th year of the AIDS epidemic, we must protect these vital programs from falling victim to Washington’s deficit hysteria and those pushing ‘small government’ ideology.”

Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333