Washington: Goodbye to Free Vaccines
January 22, 2009
In an attempt to avoid cuts to HIV/AIDS education, family planning services, and funding for local health districts, the Legislature may slash a program that provides all children in Washington with free vaccines.
Currently, state money for vaccines supplements federal funds that are earmarked to ensure low-income, Native American, and Alaska Native children have access to vaccines. Without state funds, private insurers will pick up the cost of vaccinations.
Premera Blue Cross is ready to pay for the vaccines if the spending cuts are enacted, said spokesperson Scott Forslund. But he said insurers are concerned that the move could exacerbate the trend of "cost shifting," whereby private insurers and their customers pay more to compensate for inadequate government health care spending.
The federal dollars should be enough to cover immunizations for children who qualify for Medicaid, said Selecky. What is unclear is who will pay for the vaccines for children whose families do not qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford health insurance.
01.11.2009; John Stucke
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.