A professor who is a senior fellow at the liberal Brookings Institute and a columnist for The New York Times took to social media Tuesday to propose that any Americans who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine and then get sick and are hospitalized by the disease be made to pay for their own care out of pocket.
“When anti-vaxxers rack up tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills, who pays? Think about it, and you’ll realize that their political positions are effectively being subsidized by members of insurance pools, taxpayers, and the vaccinated,” University of Michigan economics Prof. Justin Wolfers wrote on Twitter.
“The problem is not just that antivaxxers are risking the health of kids and the immunocompromised and all of us at risk of breakthrough infections. It’s also that when they hurt themselves, we pay,” he continued.
The problem is not just that antivaxxers are risking the health of kids and the immunocompromised and all of us at risk of breakthrough infections. It's also that when they hurt themselves, we pay.
— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) August 10, 2021
Wolfers then tweeted a link to a MarketWatch columnist Jonathan Meer, who wrote a piece last week under the headline, “Don’t want the COVID-19 vaccine? Then pay the full cost if you land in the hospital.”
“Those who choose to remain unvaccinated no longer pose a serious threat to the vaccinated – but they’re still imposing a cost. Hospitalizations for COVID are almost entirely confined to those who are not vaccinated, often at the cost of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Meer wrote.
Who should bear those costs? Under our system of risk-sharing, it’s all of us, whether through government programs like Medicare and Medicaid or through private insurers. When someone who refuses to get the vaccine gets seriously ill, their bills currently are paid by taxpayers or others in their insurance group.
But why should the vaccinated bear those financial costs? Insurers, led by government programs, should declare that medically-able, eligible people who choose not to be vaccinated are responsible for the full financial cost of COVID-related hospitalizations, effective in six weeks.
Both Meer and Wolfers were widely ostracized on social media for their statements, which many saw as incredibly hypocritical given the left’s previous arguments in support of “universal healthcare,” at taxpayers’ expense.
This is how, ‘Healthcare is a human right,’ turns into, ‘Your healthcare costs too much.’ https://t.co/1GVQBFafLz
— Chad Felix Greene 🇮🇱 (@chadfelixg) August 10, 2021
Isn’t this the exact argument the right makes against universal healthcare?
— Jeremy (@jspinny) August 10, 2021
trust me bro this is one box you do not want to open https://t.co/cVxzfoZbei
— Evan (@EvanPlatinum) August 11, 2021
Should hospitals start asking ER patients if they were wearing a seatbelt?
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) August 10, 2021
Here is a smattering of other comments:
Should there be an obesity tax?
— Kyle Smith (@rkylesmith) August 10, 2021
Do you realize you are now quoting the same argument from eugenicists?
— Robert Barnes (@barnes_law) August 11, 2021
This is great argument for denying medical care to the morbidly obese
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) August 10, 2021
Wouldn’t we have less addicts if we stopped giving away free narcan?
— ⊕RussR⊕ (@Russr) August 11, 2021
Other users noted that minorities are among the demographics with the lowest vaccination levels.
Hmmmm mmmmm. Profound. Let’s try that perspective on some other demographic and lifestyle minorities and see if you find the outrage as justified https://t.co/EDqxLc6qiN
— c o o l a i r (@6MgCitrusZyn) August 11, 2021
That’s very racist of you considering the core demographics of the Vaccine Resisters are Black and Brown POCs pic.twitter.com/ilhnuM3ePi
— The Gaybibi (@BCinKW) August 10, 2021
“Members of some racial minority groups have much lower vaccination rates. You think they don’t deserve hospital care if they get sick? Or is it only unvaccinated people from the majority group that you would turn away?” said psychology professor and author Geoffrey Miller.
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