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Rick Perry's Justification for the Gardasil Mandate
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Perry maintains that the justification for his executive order making the shot mandatory was twofold: 1) that the Gardasil vaccine offered a chance to save lives that might have otherwise been taken away by cervical cancer and, 2) that insurance companies wouldn’t cover the $360 cost of the vaccine ($120 for each of a 3-shot regimen) when it was simply an optional “recommended” vaccine. That put it out of the reach for most low-income Texans. This from the Time Magazine article (source), “Some pediatricians and gynecologists are refusing to stock Gardasil because many insurance companies reimburse so little for the vaccine, which costs $360 for the three required doses.”
When Perry mandated Gardasil, it would have become part of a school-related vaccine package which was then covered by insurance for simply the cost of a co-pay.
Some additional insight can be gained by an analysis of 700 pages of e-mails regarding the HPV decision (Politico got from Perry’s office via a FOIA request). Ben Smith and Byron Tau concluded that there was not a record of Merck meddling and that Perry was “largely absent from the internal discussions.”
Perry befriended a now-deceased victim of cervical cancer, Heather Burcham, who was featured in a 2007 ABC News special. This may have been, at least partially, motivation for Perry's decision on the HPV vaccine.
Perry made her the poster child for his HPV executive decision, and spoke eloquently at her funeral.
"I don't want to have died in vain," [Heather Burcham] said. "I don't want my life to have no purpose whatsoever, and if I can help spread the word about cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine, then I haven't lived in vain."
(source: ABC News)
When Perry made the decision to issue the EO, it is likely that he was relying (at least partially) on his own in-house consultant more than being influenced by a $6,000 contribution by Merck. The e-mails show that his wife (Anita) WAS aware of the Gardasil issue and no doubt, Perry would have relied on her education (MS in Nursing from UT), and her experience, having worked in the nursing profession for more than 17 years. She worked in surgery, pediatrics, intensive care, administration, teaching and as a consultant.
That Perry's wife Anita was intimately involved in the issue is evidenced by the fact that she was the keynote speaker in 2005 at a Women in Government (WIG) conference on cervical cancer prevention and elimination.