Florida Rep. Wants Hepatitis C Screenings Offered To All Baby Boomers

Jan 16, 2014

A British government website informs people about hepatitis testing
Credit AJ Cann via Flickr

When Floridians of a certain age go for a health checkup, one lawmaker wants their doctors to be required to offer a hepatitis C test.  But House Speaker Will Weatherford is encouraging the bill sponsor to remove the mandate because insurance companies wouldn’t like it, she says.

Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) says Centers for Disease Control statistics about hepatitis C and baby boomers are compelling.

“Baby boomers are five times more likely to have hepatitis C," she says.

She says because infected people can go years without showing symptoms, they can age into the Medicare system before realizing they need costly medical care. To prevent this, Jones proposes requiring doctors to offer hepatitis C tests to people born between 1945 and 1965.

But she says the mandate did not get a warm reception from Weatherford.

"He encouraged me to make sure that the language was written in such a way that it was not written as a mandate but it would be something that could be received and received openly," she says.

Jones says a Senate companion bill should be filed sometime next week.

A call to the Florida Association of Health Plans seeking comment was not immediately returned.