A bill that would require insurance companies and Medicaid to pay for the controversial human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine is scheduled to be heard in the House Health & Human Services committee today. House Bill 1301 would also create a state fund to pay for the vaccine for the under-insured and a fund for an awareness campaign. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that causes about 70 percent of cases of cervical cancer.
It’s worth noting that the Rocky Mountain News reports the $1.5 million needed for the program will come from the state’s tobacco settlement money. While technically true, the money will specifically be siphoned from the Prevention, Early Detection and Treatment Fund, which currently pays for breast and cervical cancer screening for low-income women. The $1.5 million transfer would cut that fund’s budget by 42 %. However, the HPV vaccine requires three rounds of shots for a total of $360 dollars, and a bill is pending in the senate that would require all school-age girls to be vaccinated, although parents could opt out. One objection to that requirement, among many, is that the vaccine is too expensive to make it required.