Making Unvaccinated Aussies Pay For Their ICU Costs Is A Slippery Slope
“If you follow that same logic, are you going to ask smokers to pay for their healthcare?"
A new proposal to make unvaccinated people pay for their medical care in New South Wales has been rightfully slammed by medical experts.
The controversial plan to make unvaccinated people pay for their ICU hospital care was first revealed by Ray Hadley on Wednesday morning
“It’s a rather radical move that has been put forward by a number of cabinet ministers to the Premier and the Health Minister and that says, if people are hospitalised at the current time and the numbers are rising, those who are unvaccinated will be charged for their hospitalisation,” said Hadley.
“That’s based on the fact that the vast majority of people in ICU are — in fact — unvaccinated.”
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard later confirmed that this was an option on the table.
“This is an option under consideration by the NSW government,” said Hazzard, in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
It goes without saying that introducing caveats on Australians right to Medicare-funded healthcare is a recipe for disaster, and shouldn’t be something we’re considering at a state or federal level.
At its core, the proposal directly undermines the government’s own definition of the Medicare system.
“Medicare and the public hospital system provide free or low-cost access for all Australians,” the Health Department website reads.
“Medicare covers all of the cost of public hospital services. It also covers some or all of the costs of other health services. These can include services provided by GPs and medical specialists. They can also include physiotherapy, community nurses, and basic dental services for children.”
But if you needed any more proof that this is an extremely bad idea, medical experts have already slammed it.
The Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid says it is not the right call, and questions how this logic could impact other situations.
“The big issue from a medical point of view is that it’s really not ethical or the right thing to do to limit access to healthcare based on people’s previous health choices,” he told The Guardian Australia.
“If you follow that same logic, are you going to ask smokers to pay for their healthcare?
“I think it would be a real shame if through this pandemic we lose our compassion, we lose our humanity, and our care for fellow Australians, even if they’ve made choices we think are unwise or incorrect or even completely antisocial.”
Meanwhile, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has slammed the proposal — labelling it “unethical.”
Even Scott Morrison has called it a “heavy-handed” approach, however, it’s worth noting that the Prime Minister has a documented history of pandering to the anti-vax community.
“We don’t have a mandatory vaccination policy as a federal government, that’s not something that we’ve done,” he told 7News.
“We live in a country where we’re not going around demonising those who want to make their own choices, I think that’s very important.”
A similar concept was rolled out in Singapore last month, with the government deciding it will no longer pay the COVID-related medical bills for people “unvaccinated by choice”. The government foots the bill for any COVID-related medical bill for those who are vaccinated, or have a legitimate medical exemption — and will also cover those partially vaccinated until December 31.
Currently, New South Wales residents — regardless of vaccination status — are eligible for Medicare-funded ICU treatment.