Cancer vaccine law

Oregon health insurance providers will soon be required to pay for cervical cancer prevention vaccines.

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The Legislature has passed a bill that requires insurance companies to cover the costs of the human papillomavirus vaccine for females age 11 to 26. The governor’s office confirmed that Gov. Ted Kulongoski will sign the bill, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2010.

“It’s a hard cancer to detect. It’s a hard cancer to treat,” Rep. Carolyn Tomei, D-Milwaukie, said after the vote. “Certainly, we don’t want our daughters and granddaughters to be in danger of getting this very serious and deadly cancer.”

The vaccine prevents at least four strains of the sexually transmitted infection that are most likely to cause cervical cancer. The vaccine is most effective if administered before a woman is sexually active. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine in 2006.

The House repassed the bill 40-17, after it was amended by the Senate, which passed it 21-6 on Wednesday.

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