Senate Committee Delays Markup of Bill To Revise Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday decided to delay markup of a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) that would make several revisions in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to allow committee members more time to negotiate over provisions in the legislation, CongressDaily/AM reports (Heil, CongressDaily/AM, 4/3). The bill, first introduced last March, would extend the statute of limitations from three to six years for families of children injured by required vaccines to file claims under VCIP, which provides the families with compensation for the injuries. In addition, the legislation would increase the amount of compensation that families can receive (California Healthline, 3/20). Democrats, however, said that bill could deny compensation to families of children injured by thimerosal, a mercury-based vaccine additive that some have linked to childhood disorders (Heil, CongressDaily/AM, 4/1). Frist yesterday introduced a substitute amendment that would allow families involved in thimerosal lawsuits to file claims under VICP beyond the six-year statute of limitations. The substitute legislation also calls for more studies on the side effects of vaccines and increased oversight of injuries linked to vaccines. Democrats said that the substitute bill does not "go far enough," CongressDaily/AM reports. According to a spokesperson for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), ranking member of the committee, "There are still some very serious concerns" about the legislation. The committee will likely mark up the bill next week, a committee spokesperson said, CongressDaily/AM reports (CongressDaily/AM, 4/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.