The healthcare reform bill approved this week by a Senate committee contains language that allows state authorities to intervene in a citizen’s home to ensure that both adult and children family members are properly immunized, according to a report by CNSNews.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee issued a press release this week that summarizes some of the bill’s language.
According to the summary, the bill “authorizes a demonstration program to improve immunization coverage. Under this program, CDC [Centers for Disease Control] will provide grants to states to improve immunization coverage of children, adolescents, and adults through the use of evidence-based interventions.
“States may use funds to implement interventions that are recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force, such as reminders or recalls for patients or providers, or home visits.”
A subtitle of the bill further directs the secretary of health and human services to “establish a demonstration program to award grants to states to improve the provision of recommended immunizations for children, adolescents, and adults through the use of evidence-based, population-based interventions for high-risk populations.”
The bill goes on to list eight ways that states may use federal grant money to carry out immunization-promoting “interventions.” Providing immunization reminders or recalls for target populations of clients, patients, and consumers; Educating targeted populations and health care providers concerning immunizations in combination with one or more other interventions; Reducing out-of-pocket costs for families for vaccines and their administration; Carrying out immunization-promoting strategies for participants or clients of public programs, including assessments of immunization status, referrals to health care providers, education, provision of on-site immunizations, or incentives for immunization; Providing for home visits that promote immunization through education, assessments of need, referrals, provision of immunizations, or other services; Providing reminders or recalls for immunization providers; Conducting assessments of, and providing feedback to, immunization providers; or Any combination of one or more interventions described in this paragraph.
Many vaccines routinely administered to children in the United States are not uncontroversial, but there are some shots that are sure to stir debate if administered under the new proposed procedures.
The CNSNews report highlights the controversy ignited when the Merck pharmaceutical company campaigned to have states mandate that school girls receive Gardasil, its vaccine against HPV.
Although many states considered such mandates, thus far only Virginia and the District have imposed one, according to a Washington Post report. That same report noted the opinion of some experts who opposed promoting use of the HPV vaccine when its long term impact is still unknown.
Meanwhile, the Senate committee touted what they suggest are the overall benefits of the Affordable Health Care Choices Act, describing it as “landmark legislation that will reduce health costs, protect individuals’ choice in doctors and plans, and assure quality and affordable health care for Americans.”
Some pundits, however, ponder if home interventions are really consistent with any theme of “choice.”
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