The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has passed a Republican-backed smallpox vaccination compensation bill similar to one defeated in the House earlier this week. The final vote, 11-10, ran along party lines. The bill, introduced by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), limits compensation to $262,100 for those who suffer total disability and the family members of those who die from vaccination-related injuries. Compensation for lost wages is capped at $50,000 for those with less serious injuries. Democrats oppose the bill for not being generous enough. Several amendments by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) to increase compensation and guarantee funding for the program were rejected. An amendment by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) to aggressively screen volunteers for the vaccination program and to provide monitoring and treatment after they are vaccinated was accepted.
Senate committee OKs smallpox comp bill
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