Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Streaming in an Overdrive, Part 2

September 27 is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the population most affected by the HIV epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD), September 27, is an opportunity for gay men everywhere to recommit to the fight to ending the epidemic. Started in 2008 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), NGMHAAD calls on gay men to lead the movement to end the epidemic by knowing their status, demanding access to care and support services for those who are positive, and using safer practices consistently to prevent further transmission.

AIDS United's Interim President Victor Barnes will speak at the NGMHAAD press conference on September 27 at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., and Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Ronald Johnson will serve as a panelist during the NGMHAAD conference in Washington, D.C. on September 28. For more information about NGMHAAD, click here.

Congressional Update II:
Countdown to Sequestration

One hundred and two days to the dreaded sequester.

Last year, as part of the Budget Control Act (BCA) legislation, Congress put in place a mechanism to trigger automatic spending cuts that both sides of the political spectrum hated to ensure that a compromise on deficit reduction was reached. A compromise was not found, so the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, will occur on January 2nd unless Congress takes action before that time. Avoiding the sequester is a top priority for the lame duck Congressional session.

The Office of Management and Budget complied with a recently enacted law to produce a report on how sequestration would be implemented. On September 14 th the Obama administration released the report showing estimated spending cuts program-by-program. The report estimates most programs, including domestic health and public health programs, would be cut by 8.2% if sequestration is carried out. These cuts would be on top of the cuts already enacted under the BCA.

Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein has renamed sequestration with a longer but more accurate description: "The Big Dumb Spending Cuts That Nobody Wants." Klein was featured in a segment on MSNBC's The Ed Show with Bob Greenstein, President and Founder of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). To watch the full segment, including Greenstein's comments, click here . The interview with Greenstein begins at 5:15 min mark - ends at 8:30 min mark.

Multiple groupings of Congress Members are meeting to work on plans, both grand scale and stop-gap, to avoid the sequester. Stop gap plans would give Congress time to make realistic deficit reduction proposals, including tax reform to increase revenue and more thought out plans to cut spending for defense and non-defense discretionary programs. President Obama continues to state he will not sign any legislation to change the sequester that does not include both revenue enhancements and spending cuts. Nearly all the plans suggested so far have only included spending cuts. AIDS United has continuously called for a balanced approach to solve the fiscal crisis facing the country with increased revenue and smart cuts to all programs, including defense.

We continue to need to educate the community and Members of Congress on the importance of the non-defense discretionary portfolio, which includes HIV-related spending, both domestic and global. For a tool kit created by the Non-Defense Discretionary Summit to help educate all sides please click here.

For a Kaiser Health News analysis of sequestration on Medicare, see:

Click here for a statement from the Coalition for Health Funding on the sequester:

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