White House AIDS Director Defends Clinton's Record
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 8) -- The Clinton Administration is defending itself against charges it is no longer doing enough to battle the deadly AIDS epidemic.
Sandra Thurman, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, says the Clinton Administration has a strong track record of addressing the needs of people living with HIV and AIDS.
The White House has been criticized for not pushing to expand Medicaid access to new, life-saving drug therapies.
"The president worked vigorously to save the Medicaid program," Thurman said in a statement, "which is the largest single payer of AIDS services and treatment in the country."
But Thurman acknowledged expanding Medicaid benefits to cover the expensive therapies has proved "more difficult than anticipated."
A White House-appointed advisory panel, out with its second progress report on the battle against AIDS, levelled the charges. The 32-member panel said HIV demands a "robust and energetic response" as well as "bold leadership."
Thurman, while saying she shared the panel's sense of frustration, also said "there is no absence of will to meet this challenge."
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Monday Dec. 8, 1997
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