Bill would pay hemophiliac AIDS victims $125,000 each
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Saying the government must take responsibility for tainted blood supplies, House Speaker Newt Gingrich led lawmakers Thursday in supporting a bill to compensate hemophilia victims infected by the HIV virus.
``This is simple justice and simple concern for fellow human beings who deserve better from their government,″ Gingrich, R-Ga., said at a news conference.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., in the House and Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, in the Senate, would provide a one-time payment of $125,000 to people suffering from hemophilia or their survivors who were infected with HIV virus as a result of tainted blood supplies.
It would set aside $900 million over five years to pay for the awards.
Some 7,200 people with hemophilia, or half the Americans suffering from the bleeding disorder, became infected with the virus that causes AIDS during the 1980s through contaminated blood products.
``The federal government should assume partial responsibility for what happened to these people because it failed to respond to the warning signs that blood products in this country were contaminated with a potentially deadly virus,″ Goss said.
Goss, who brought up the legislation in the last Congress but failed to win passage, says he has 159 co-sponsors in the House.
The bill is named after Ricky Ray, a Florida teenager who died of hemophilia-associated AIDS in 1992.