Associated Press (01/17/90)
The AIDS epidemic will cost America $1 billion a year over the next four
years, and San Francisco alone $35 million a year, Dr. George
Rutherford, head of the San Francisco AIDS office, told a congressional
hearing Tuesday. San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, describing the city's
model AIDS program as "near collapse," added, "...Now, for the first
time, there is reason to believe that we can stave off death with early
intervention treatments...and yet the hope that science and research has
bought comes at a price that government won't pay." Bitterly commenting
on federal funding policies, Agnos said something is "seriously wrong"
with a federal policy that will pay for AIDS hospitalization costs only
if a patient has pneumonia and not for earlier treatment before symptoms
appear. Rep. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) pointed out the paradox of
spending millions to research AIDS treatments, but stopping "at the point
of making these drugs available to all who are unable to secure life
saving treatments through their own means.