Monday, July 19, 2021

Tweet Of The Day- Vaccination

Well, tweet of yesterday, anyway.

On Saturday, The New York Times reported

Overall, Arkansas ranks near the bottom of states in the share of population that is vaccinated. Only 44 percent of residents have received at least one shot.

“Boy, we’ve tried just about everything we can think of,” a retired National Guard colonel, Robert Ator, who runs the state’s vaccination effort, said in an interview. For about one in three residents, he said, “I don’t think there’s a thing in the world we could do to get them to get vaccinated.”

For that, the state is paying a price. Hospitalizations have quadrupled since mid-May. More than a third of patients are in intensive care. Deaths, a lagging indicator, are also expected to rise, health officials said....

Even health care workers have balked. Statewide, only about 40 percent are vaccinated, Dr. Romero said.

In April, the state legislature added yet another roadblock, making it essentially illegal for any state or local entity, including public hospitals, to require coronavirus vaccination as a condition of education or employment until two years after the Food and Drug Administration fully licenses a shot. That almost certainly means no such requirements can be issued until late in 2023.

It's extraordinary when health care workers are not vaccinated, especially in what we hear constantly is an "exceptional" country.

As tweeter "Jill" argues, failure to be vaccinated cannot be used as a rationale for not treating an individual as long as hospitals permit their employees to work without vaccination. Of course, even if they impose a mandate, denying treatment to a patient raises very obvious and serious ethical issues.

Admittedly, many hospitals may be in a situation in which the demand for health care workers outstrips supply of qualified workers, thus preventing the institutions from mandating vaccines.(although not everywhere).

Maybe. But there is one industry which has no excuse: health insurance.

This gang of thieves remains in private hands. As private entities, they're permitted to exercise considerable discretion, usually to the detriment of the consumer, which discretion is restricted only by specific anti-discrimination laws pertaining to protected classes.

So most health insurance companies in most markets discriminate- as, for example, against smokers. Similarly, they could charge non-vaccinated individuals more than they charge the vaccinated. As a plus, it would be easier to confirm vaccination status than tobacco usage because everyone receives proof of vaccination upon getting the shot(s).  All that would be necessary is for a vaccinated consumer to present her company a copy or a screenshot of vaccination confirmation.

"We're all in this together" goes the popular coronavirus advertising slogan of 2020. It's less common now, perhaps because it is clearer that it is an inaccurate portrayal of the sentiment of Republican politicians and the men and women who love them. It's understandable, though possibly unfortunate, that hospitals are not requiring employees to be vaccinated and denial of treatment to patients who are not vaccinated would be extremely controversial. But health insurance companies have no such excuse, and their irresponsibility here is one more symptom of an industry which is too important to leave (primarily) to the private sector.


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