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Giessel Universal Vaccine Program Bill Pushes on to House Finance

House Health & Social Services Committee passes out SB 169

JUNEAU –Today, a bill designed to lower healthcare costs for Alaskans and increase statewide vaccination rates moved to the House Finance Committee for consideration. Senator Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage Hillside/Turnagain Arm/N. Kenai Peninsula) introduced Senate Bill 169 as a solution to dwindling federal dollars for vaccinations that have plummeted since U.S. Senator Ted Stevens left office.

“This bill establishes an innovative public-private partnership that will allow the state to use bulk-buying power from pre-assessed insurance providers to purchase vaccines for the state,” said Senator Giessel. “Other states are using this creative model and they are enjoying costs savings while preserving their general funds and increasing vaccination rates.”

Giessel’s SB 169 committee packet is filled with letters of support from across the state, from pediatricians to community health centers, and from private physicians to Alaska’s main insurer, Premera.

“Why? Because containing healthcare costs is important to their bottom lines and because they know it is sound public policy,” said Senator Giessel.  “Despite the opposition of the pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, this bill is moving forward with strong support from Alaska’s medical community who knows how vital this program is for healthy Alaskans, from pregnant women and infants all the way up to adults and seniors.”

“If this bill does not pass, we will be leaving half of all Alaska’s children unvaccinated and all adults, even our most vulnerable seniors, without affordable access to vital immunizations,” added Senator Giessel. “Thanks to the House Health and Social Services Committee, who moved SB 169 another step closer to becoming a reality.”

Senator Giessel has submitted a hearing request to House Finance and hopes to have a hearing date soon.

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