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CQ Examines Concerns Over Obama’s FY2011 Global Health Budget

Congressional Quarterly examines concerns among health advocates and international development experts about what President Obama’s FY 2011 budget request might mean to U.S. commitments to particular diseases abroad, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. 

According to CQ, Obama’s request represents an “increase over funding for such programs this fiscal year, [and] it places a new emphasis on maternal and pediatric programs as part of a broader strategy to build stronger comprehensive health care systems, as opposed to the George W. Bush administration’s focus on particular diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.” Additionally, “The government’s Global Health Initiative pledges to spend $63 billion over six years on global health programs,” the news service notes.

“What we’ve done historically over the last number of years, very successfully, is we’ve pursued disease treatment programs with HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis,” Jack Lew, deputy secretary of state for management and resources, said last week. “And what hasn’t happened is the kind of self-conscious building of a sustainable health care infrastructure.”

“The administration’s new approach, however, collides with funding priorities that Congress set down during the Bush administration. In 2008, Congress authorized the appropriation of up to $48 billion to fight AIDS and other diseases over the next five years,” CQ writes. “AIDS advocates are concerned that such commitments will not be met unless there are significant funding boosts for PEPFAR and the Global Fund.”

While “Congress appropriated nearly $110 million more for AIDS programs than Obama requested for fiscal 2010 … with government deficits soaring and Obama proposing a freeze on domestic discretionary spending for the next three years, foreign aid appropriators will be under pressure to rein in spending,” CQ writes.

The article includes comments from health advocates who agree and disagree with the Obama administration’s global health strategy (Webber, 2/5).