On September 30, 2009, the Ryan White Act will expire endangering the essential access to care, treatment and support services to many people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. Last week, 72 Members of Congress joined Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Atlanta) in his "Dear Colleague" letter to Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Joe Barton urging swift passage of Ryan White legislation. The final letter can be viewed here courtesy of the CAEAR Coalition.
Yesterday, CAEAR Coalition released a "Dear Colleague" letter circulated by US Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) calling on Senators Harkin and Enzi urging them to pass a 3-year extension of the Ryan White program with the community consensus recommendations before it expires on September 30, 2009.
This afternoon I have the privilege to join a small group of people living with HIV/AIDS, who are clients of Poverello Center's food bank in Wilton Manors, to call upon US Senator Bill Nelson to sign-on the letter of support and urge swift action to pass Ryan White legislation before the September 30th deadline.
Click the jump to view the "Dear Colleague" letter and for a link to help you identify who your US Senator is...Congress must act fast with only 2 weeks left for action!
Below is the letter being circulated by US Senator Lautenberg.
Dear Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Enzi:
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 more than 323 HIV/AIDS organizations. This lifesaving law funds an array of innovative and effective services that form the health care safety net for uninsured and underinsured Americans living with HIV/AIDS. We need to act to extend this landmark legislation before it expires on September 30, 2009, to ensure that vital services are available to people who 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 consensus recommendations of those on the frontlines of the epidemic. Timely extension of the legislation is essential to prevent uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS from experiencing a gap in the delivery of life-saving medical and supportive services as we continue our work toward health care reform.
On behalf of our constituents living with HIV/AIDS who receive Ryan White services, we ask that you extend the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act before September 30, 2009. We appreciate your consideration of our request.
To look up your United States Senator, visit Project Vote Smart at http://votesmart.org/
Deadline to sign-on is Friday, September 18 at 10 am. Request both your Democratic and Republican Senate offices wishing to sign on to contact Apryl Clark in Sen. Lautenberg's office, 202-224-3224, Apryl_Clark@lautenberg.senate.gov
Note: Only your Senator's office should speak with Apryl directly.
Senator Lautenberg, thank you for your leadership!