HIV+ HEMOPHILIACS: Senate Cmte. Passes Two Relief Bills
Ending weeks of disagreement, the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee yesterday passed two bills that would compensate AIDS patients who received the virus through tainted blood products. The Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act would compensate an estimated 7,200 hemophiliacs who contracted AIDS through contaminated clotting medication with $100,000 each. At committee Chair Sen. Jim Jeffords' (R-VT) urging, the committee also passed an alternative bill that would compensate an additional estimated 10,000 non-hemophiliacs who contracted AIDS through tainted transfusions. The two versions "were ordered reported by voice vote." CongressDaily/A.M. reports that Jeffords' "substitute bill would make eligible anyone who contracted HIV from contaminated blood or blood products between July 1, 1982 and Dec. 31, 1987." The narrower bill, passed by the House earlier this year, would cost $750 million. Jeffords' bill, however, would cost double that -- about $1.7 billion (CongressDaily/A.M., 9/24). However, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports that Jeffords' measure would give HIV-positive hemophiliacs a six-month head start on applying for the compensation funds. Jeffords will reportedly speak with Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, "to see if the House would agree to the change" (9/24). Earlier this month, Senate Labor Committee ranking member Ted Kennedy (D-MA) suggested passing the bill with the higher funding level and reconciling the two versions during conference committee negotiations. Click Ricky Ray to read past Daily Report coverage of the issue.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.