A Modest COVID Proposal


I have a modest proposal, an idea that’s so crazy that it just might be a good idea.

As you can see from the charts below, daily COVID cases have surged about 30% this month. Compile your own set of explainers for that; it won’t be difficult. The more interesting news is the confirmation of what you already know, that the rise in cases and the resultant hospitalizations are almost entirely of unvaccinated people.

So, read the charts below, then repeat out loud the text of the graphic on the right.

Click either chart for the story from STAT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The gigantic workload that has been dumped on our medical professionals has spanned nearly two years. That has burned them out and they “are quitting in droves.” And the enormous financial cost of all those hospitalizations has been dumped on all of us by our vaccine refusing citizens. That is to say, these people are knowingly refusing to do the simple, free thing that will prevent them from landing in the hospital, overburdening our medical professionals and running up a huge tab we all pay through our insurance premiums.

I’m going to take a guess that may be related to that. See if see if you agree.

Many of the people who are refusing to get vaccinated see themselves as fiercely independent. They balk, sometimes violently, at being told what to do and proudly announce that they’ll make their own decisions for themselves and will accept the consequences.

Frustratingly, it isn’t that simple.

According to Healthcare Finance, the average cost of hospital care for COVID-19 patients ranges from $51,000 – $78,000, depending on age. We hospitalize about 5,000 freshly ill Americans daily and the hospital case count hovers around 50,000 all the time.* If we use a mid-point cost of $65,000 per hospitalization and multiply that by 5,000 new hospitalizations per day, we find that our unvaccinated, fiercely independent citizens are costing us an additional $325,000,000 every day.

They are knowingly putting themselves at risk and are expecting us (through insurance) to pay their bills.

Is that fair? I don’t think so, so here’s my modest proposal.

Let’s tell all Americans that if they refuse to be vaccinated and then contract COVID-19 and require hospitalization that they will be ineligible for insurance coverage of their medical costs, whether through private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. They’ll be fiercely and independently on their own financially, just as they say they prefer.

Sure, we can make exceptions for those who are medically unable to be vaccinated. Perhaps there are some other reasons we should cut a few of the refusers some slack, but very few.

Here’s the best part of this plan: betcha that a lot of vaccine refusers will suddenly get vaccinated, which will protect both them and the rest of us, too.

Now, I understand how socially odious my idea is and how politically third rail it is. Still, Republican extremists should love the support this modest COVID proposal gives to their fierce independence.

Wait a second  .  .  .  are they the same people who carried right wing protest signs reading, “Keep government out of my Medicare?”

Session Questions

If you were to ask a vaccine refuser if healthcare is a right and not a privilege, à la Bernie Sanders,

A. Under normal circumstances, how would they answer?

B. If that same refuser were in the hospital for COVID-19 and about to have a breathing tube shoved down his/her throat, how would they answer then?

C. If the refuser referenced in B above were asked if COVID is a hoax, how would s/he answer? Hint: It’s common for refusers to be screaming about what a hoax the disease is until the moment that the breathing tube shuts them up. Yes, really.

D. How about if that refuser had just entered the hospital with acute COVID symptoms and the hospital told him/her to expect a bill of $65,000 that s/he will have to pay out of pocket. What would they say about their right to healthcare then and whether they should have been vaxxed?

This Just In (last Friday)

In case you thought our times couldn’t become crazier:

Rep. Greene introduces bill to award Congress’s highest honor to Kyle Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two men
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No, that is not a headline from The Onion. It’s from the Washington Post and it’s real. Read the article and boggle your brain here or here.

Echoing Maureen Dowd, “Donnez-moi un break,” and “Prenez un grip,” Rep. Taylor-Greene.

Ahmaud Arbery, hunted for refusing to have a conversation with an angry White guy and then killed for the crime of running while Black

Lynching

Travis McMichael, his dad and a neighbor almost got away with lynching Ahmaud Arbery via shotgun. The first prosecutor, Jackie Johnson, conspired with McMichael to obstruct justice by telling McMichael to wash Arbery’s blood off himself and his clothing and then saying she wouldn’t press charges. That’s conspiracy to obstruct justice and perhaps some other crimes. Here’s the good news.

That first prosecutor has been indicted and stands a good chance of conviction, which will result in her reconnecting with felons she herself put in prison. I’m sure it will be a lovely reunion.

And a jury in Glynn County Georgia – 11 Whites and 1 Black – managed to figure out what really happened. They did their duty, sending all three men to prison for a really long time. With or without video evidence, that’s a very different outcome than might have been expected not so long ago. Is it possible we’re beginning to say, “No more lynchings” and really mean it?

Finally

President Biden’s poll numbers are quite bad. Is that because he disappointed Americans’ hopes for prosperity or mishandled our foreign affairs and put us at risk? Is he a failed first year president? Nope. Read this.

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* With the number at roughly 780,000, we have more Americans dead from COVID than the total population in each of 70 countries. We have more COVID dead than we had combat deaths from WW I, WW II, the Korean, Viet Nam, Civil, Revolutionary, War of 1812, Afghanistan and Mexican-American wars combined. And we did that in under 2 years. Worse, it seems that’s okay with a lot of Americans.

Now there’s a new COVID variant, B.1.1.529, named Omicron. It’s on the way from South Africa and Hong Kong and has already found its way into the U.K., Germany and Italy. It “has a big jump in evolution” and, “Scientists are still unclear on how effective existing vaccines will be against the new variant.” Right now we are climbing the winter spike in Delta and Omicron is on the way. OMG Omicron.

No telling what our refusers will do about this next assault, but this feels most ominous, like the next iteration of pandemic assault following Delta. It’s going to be very expensive. Who will pay?

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
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