CARSON CITY — A much discussed bill requiring insurance companies and state medical programs to make a cervical cancer vaccine available to young women passed the Senate without comment on a 14-7 vote.
All 10 Democrats and four Republicans voted for Senate Bill 409, a measure introduced by Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, that struggled for a week to win passage.
It now goes to the Assembly, where Titus said she believes the measure will ultimately win approval.
“I was very happy they did the right thing,” Titus said of the Senate vote.
The opposition was due to concerns about mandating coverage to insurance companies.
But Titus said insurance companies will save money. The vaccine costs $360, much cheaper than treatment for cancer or related complications from the disease, she said.
The bill ran into trouble because it covered local government self-funded insurance plans. Those groups were amended out of the bill.
The vaccine is not mandated. It just makes it more affordable if young women or their parents choose vaccination, Titus said.
The bill would require health insurance companies, including Nevada Check-Up and Medicaid, to make the vaccine, called Gardasil, available to female patients ages 9 to 26.
Funding for the vaccine is included in the budgets for Medicaid and Nevada Check-up, health plans for the working poor and the uninsured.
Titus said most insurance companies already offer the vaccine.2007