According to government estimates, as many as 60,000 Americans need a rabies vaccine each year. Democratic California Rep. Ami Bera was one of them. Bera was one of numerous people who suffered a fox bite on Capitol Hill in April. A fox was captured and euthanized after testing positive for rabies, and Bera received post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Now, he's endeavoring to ease the financial burden for uninsured Americans who are in his shoes via legislation.
"Despite being a fatal disease, rabies is preventable if treated quickly," Bera, a physician, said in a Wednesday statement. "I was fortunate to have access to readily available and low-cost vaccines. But for too many Americans, the costs of treatment would break their banks." The Washington Post reports rabies vaccine costs can run from $1,200 to $6,500. NPR cites drug pricing data from GoodRx that gave a tighter $4,868.35 to $5,930.83 range, and the media outlet notes that doesn't include any ER markup or the cost of administering the drugs. What would happen under Bera's bill: Program-registered providers would be able to submit claims and get reimbursed for providing PEP to uninsured patients. (Read more rabies stories.)