HIV+ HEMOPHILIACS: Activists Want Congressional Action
The National Hemophilia Foundation accused Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee Chair Jim Jeffords (R-VT) of stalling a bill that would provide $100,000 to hemophiliacs who contracted HIV through contaminated blood products. The committee approved two bills on September 23: "the House-passed 'Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act,' and a separate measure that would also authorize payments to those who contracted HIV from tainted blood transfusions." After Jeffords blocked an attempt to "hotline" the House measure for unanimous consent in the Senate, Val Bias of the National Hemophilia Foundation charged that Jeffords was "purposely letting both bills die" by "standing firm trying to get [all] transfusion (patients) in, even at the expense of the House bill," sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). At the bills' markup, Jeffords said that "if he could not reach an agreement" to expand the measure to include non-hemophiliac transfusion patients -- which would raise the cost of the bill from $750 million to $1.8 billion -- "then he was prepared to move the House version." A Jeffords aide said "Jeffords met with Hyde Wednesday night" and that for "a non-controversial bill, there's still lots of time to get this done" before Congress adjourns (Rovner, CongressDaily, 10/8). Click here for previous Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report coverage of the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act. The free report is available online at www.kff.org.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.