SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) introduced Assembly Bill 2516, to require that all health insurance programs, including Medi-Cal, Family Planning Access Care Treatment (Family PACT) and private health insurance providers cover the costs of the cancer-preventing vaccination for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 13 million Americans become infected with HPV each year. While some HPV infections will go away on their own, infections that don’t go away can cause certain types of cancer. In fact, HPV is a leading cause of cervical cancer, which is one of the most preventable cancers.
There is no cure for HPV, but a vaccine exists to protect against infection from the start. Since the vaccination has been in use, HPV infections and cervical pre-cancers have dropped significantly. The CDC says as many as 93% of cervical cancers could be avoided simply by screening and receiving the HPV vaccine.
AB 2516 would require that all of the state’s public and private health insurance programs include the full cost of the HPV vaccine within its covered health services. As a common, but preventable, disease which infects both males and females, we must take every possible precaution to prevent the spread of HPV. The federal government has approved the use of federal funds for this purpose and some state and private coverage is available as well.
“We have a proven cancer-prevention treatment available to Californians,” said Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry. “If we let another year go by without offering access to critical HPV prevention coverage, more young people will contract HPV, and more young people will get cancer. We’ve been laser-focused on the pandemic crises in our state, and we should be. But, we have the means to prevent a silent health crisis in the spread of HPV and the cancers that result. Everyone should have access to its prevention. And if we let cost determine access, shame on us.”
Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake and Napa Counties, parts of Colusa, Solano and Sonoma Counties, and all of Yolo County except West Sacramento.