Rep. Shalala Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Help Vaccinate More Seniors
Legislation would help expand access to vaccines and immunization information among seniors
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Reps. Donna Shalala (FL-27), Larry Bucshon, MD (IN-8), Phil Roe, MD (TN-1), and Ann Kuster (NH-2) introduced the Senior Immunization Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation that would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for vaccines covered under Medicare Part D and improve vaccines awareness and education for beneficiaries.
“The importance of immunizations in managing preventable disease and improving general public health cannot be overstated,” said Rep. Donna Shalala. “Too often, seniors wanting to be vaccinated can’t find the information they need or have trouble affording these essential, life-saving treatments. This is a common-sense bill that will help lower obstacles by expanding access to information and making vaccines more affordable for seniors.”
“Through the use of vaccines, modern medicine has enabled us to significantly improve health outcomes by preventing those who receive vaccines from becoming ill – or even dying – after getting a vaccine-preventable disease. However, the complexities of Medicare can be difficult to navigate, and financial barriers can stand in the way of seniors receiving vaccines. The result of seniors not receiving these vaccinations is preventable deaths, potentially significant costs to Medicare to treat a vaccine-preventable illness, and even long-term suffering from the effects of preventable diseases. This legislation helps ensure seniors can have access to affordable vaccines they need to live longer and healthier lives.” said Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD.
“As a physician, I know vaccines save lives. Removing cost barriers to vaccines will help ensure America’s seniors are better protected against preventable illnesses. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important bill, and hope it can be signed into law,” said Congressman Roe, M.D.
“Vaccinations are a critical part of preventive care and seniors should not have to worry about being able to afford the immunizations they need,” said Rep. Kuster. “By making vaccinations more affordable for seniors, this legislation will improve the overall health and wellbeing of our communities, reduce health care spending, and save lives. I’m pleased to help introduce this commonsense measure and I will continue working to ensure Americans can access the health care they need.”
The Senior Immunization Act of 2019 would reconcile Medicare Part D’s coverage of vaccines in terms of deductibles, coinsurance, coverage limits and annual out-of-pocket spending thresholds with those of Medicare Part B. The bill would also update the vaccine information in the “Medicare and You” Handbook as well as authorize a study to determine ways to increase adult vaccine rates.
Read the full text of this bill here.