Open Wallet, Get Less: Some lessons from a universal vaccination program

One accomplishment of American health care is the development of vaccines for a number of diseases. The Washington Policy Center sends along this announcement about vaccinations and public policy:

Did you know that Washington offers universal child vaccination to people regardless of income, but has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country?

In 1965, the United States government assured that all children would receive access to vaccines for common childhood diseases through the passage of the Vaccination Assistance Act. The law created a program that provides federal grants to local authorities for preventive health services, including immunizations.

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Nearly three decades later, the federal government expanded the plan by creating the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, enacted as part of the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993.

A new WPC study looks at how the Vaccines for Children program works, reviews Washington’s low child immunization rate, describes vaccination reimbursement policies, analyzes market distortions that affect the cost and supply of vaccines, and presents three practical recommendations for improving the viability of the public immunization program and the protection of children from serious diseases.

Read “Guarding Against Disease: Improving Washington’s Child Vaccination Program” online here

There are some lessons in there about cost-shifting, payments from Medicaid plans and the dangers of government being the dominant purchaser of health care.

(Cross-posted from State House Call.)