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State funding for children's vaccines cut off

Posted July 22, 2010

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— A state program that pays for children's immunizations that are required for school attendance has been ended, shifting the cost onto insurers and a federal health program.

Funding for North Carolina's Universal Childhood Vaccine Distribution was cut on July 1. The program was the victim of budget cuts as lawmakers worked to close an $800 million shortfall in the 2010-11 state budget.

"I'm frankly very surprised that with the emphasis on preventative care, the state's not covering vaccines," said Camino Anthony, the mother of an 11-year-old girl.

Under the 16-year-old program, the state of North Carolina bought vaccines for children who weren't covered under a federal program. The vaccines were distributed to private and public health care facilities, where they were administered for free. Providers were allowed to charge an administration fee.

The program cost $21 million at its height. Funding was reduced by $6.5 million last year and cut off completely this year.

The new state law stipulates that insurers must reimburse doctors for administering vaccines.

That means part of the cost of vaccines, which can cost $100 or more, will likely be shifted onto patients with insurance.

"Parents may have to pay out-of-pocket fees for co-payments or deductibles and may have to pay for part of the vaccine cost," said Beth Rowe-West, with the North Carolina branch of the federal Vaccines for Children program.

Vaccine generic Parents likely to feel pinch for children's shots

"We see that as a possible additional financial burden," said Dr. John Rusher, with Raleigh Pediatric Associations.

Doctors will also bear part of the cost. Private health care providers will have to buy the vaccines up front and wait for insurance companies to reimburse them.

Rusher said the overhead for that can be high.

"I'm concerned and worried (that) some practices will say it's not worth it and say you need to get vaccines elsewhere," he said.

Rowe-West expressed concern that more people might go to public health departments for immunizations or simply might not get their immunizations.

"Studies did show that if you refer the child away from the provider, they may not get the vaccine, because they may have to travel somewhere else to get that," Rowe-West said.

The federal Vaccines for Children program provides all the recommended and required vaccines for children who are eligible for Medicaid,  uninsured, under-insured or an American Indian or Alaska native. The state estimates that about 67 percent of children in North Carolina qualify for the program.

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  • mamabearprotectinghercub Jul 23, 2010

    Well you have families that don't even get welfare, they are poor & they are trying there best to make ends meet. And what is killing me is people aren't paying there child support, they can pay just a little to get out jail, then you have some that are issued by the gov to pay back your kids health insurance, or they have to have insurance for them. And if someone is sick that isn't right that they can't get help, & if they have kids they need to take care of there kids & if they can't work they should get help. If they are able to work they should be working. It isn't right that they are taking tax money to help extend unemployment. That money should be going somewhere else. And there are some that get welfare & they worked like everyone else. So some put there money in. And that is some, I am not saying all did. And you got some that are lieing about there problems & they didn't have to work.

  • whatusay Jul 23, 2010

    Please socialists...please stop making private tax payers foot the bill for your welfare. It is not the place of a state, or government, to provide for you or your children. Why do you believe it is?

  • mwalence Jul 23, 2010

    Perhaps this should be posted in the "For Our Children" section.

  • mwalence Jul 23, 2010

    Of all places to cut budgets, this is horrible. If you have a and are insured, you have no idea how lucky you are, and can comment from a position of power. For the rest of us, this is a disaster. If they require immunizations for enrollment in school, they gov't should help us out with the cost, if we need it. This is not progress, and will not have a good outcome. It shows where our priorities are. Btw, how many adults are current on their immunizations?

  • SaltlifeLady Jul 23, 2010

    Freedom-- There are many things that can be harmful in high doses. FLuoride is a naturally-occuring element. It has been proven to help our teeth and make them stronger. Iron is the same way, and there are many beenfits to us receiving Iron. Yet in high doses, these can both be toxic to our bodies. Potassium is another example. It is vital in the function of our bodies.. for our hearts, our muscles, down to cellular function (and I dont mean your phone!). Yet too much of it can stop your heart. Point being, even naturally-occuring, vital substances can be toxic. ANd you are partially right about the mercury being slow to leave your body. Methyl Mercury has a very long half-life, and build-up over time in the body can cause mercury poisoning. Vaccines..more directly Thimerisol, containes trace amounts Ethyl mercury which has a much shorter half-life and leaves the body very quickly. The two are very different.

  • whatusay Jul 23, 2010

    It's not the place of a state to provide free medical services. Wake up and take responsibility for your own children. Obama Care is coming and your free (you think) health care will be available. Until then, pay up.

  • wattsun Jul 22, 2010

    Junk?
    so if he is not down with the pharmys on mainstream(zombies) that makes his research junk?
    I guess that is why he was hired at the DOD to train their scientists and physicians on GWS ... by the way his daughter has?
    It was once widely believed that even smoking good for you.
    lets see your creds?

  • soyousay Jul 22, 2010

    All connected to a doctors/quack website where you can buy these products from him.
    unclegrits

    Absolutely, and these guys are here trying to chill this stuff

  • unclegrits Jul 22, 2010

    "life saving benefits of a healthy lifestyle including a diet based upon natural foods (real medicine)?"

    All connected to a doctors/quack website where you can buy these products from him.

  • freedomfromAmeriKa Jul 22, 2010

    unclegrits,

    the establishment has compartmentalized the study of medicine to death. why is it that our goverment is increasingly approving low-need aka viagra and synthetic drugs while blatantly refusing to acknowledge the life saving benefits of a healthy lifestyle including a diet based upon natural foods (real medicine)? There are dozens of working cancer killers used throughout the world. yet, our loving government of progressive thought refuses to allow them to be used here. check out laetrile aka vitamin b17 as a cancer therapy; if you study this and chose to purchase it, you will be unable as it is illegal?

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