In a move that could give President Bush's lagging smallpox vaccination campaign a push, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to establish "no fault" compensation for those injured by the vaccine and help states offer education and testing for risk factors. The legislation would give states full funding for the immediate medical care of healthcare workers or first responders injured by the vaccine or anyone injured by coming into contact with someone recently vaccinated. It would prohibit discrimination against workers who refuse the vaccine and authorize up to four days' paid leave following reactions. In other Washington news, border-state hospitals would be reimbursed for treating illegal immigrants under bills introduced in the Senate by Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain and in the House by a fellow Arizona Republican, Rep. Jim Kolbe. The lawmakers seek $1.45 billion per year for four years. And the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees passed a bill to expedite Medicare beneficiaries' appeals of claim denials, establish a beneficiary ombudsman and create a central, toll-free help center to answer beneficiaries' questions -- by Julie Piotrowski and Tony Fong
Bills offer smallpox safeguards, border-state funds
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