OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
Joy-Ann Reid called for tax increases on people who choose not to receive vaccines because of their health concerns.
Her comments were made during her MSNBC program on Wednesday afternoon.
‘At some point, I feel like people who are willfully unvaccinated, fine, don’t get vaccinated. But they need to start to pay a little bit more of the cost of what this is doing to our system.’
After referring to how other countries around the world are reacting to those who refuse the COVID vaccine, Reid, 52, went on to discuss how the vaccine is being treated in other countries.
‘There are fines in places like Germany. Germany has stopped paying for the virus tests for people who choose to remain unvaccinated. They have ended quarantine pay for those without vaccinations. IKEA in the U.K. is slashing sick pay for those unvaccinated workers.’
Twitter users were not enthused by the idea of imposing a tax on unvaccinated individuals.
‘Ohhhh, Joy, you may want to think this one through (for once),’ one person wrote.
‘You know what… come to my house and try to TAX my freedom,’ user Jeff Liddle stated.
— sicario (@viralSatan) January 12, 2022
However, not everyone shared such sentiments and many of them agreed with Reid’s suggestion.
‘l agree with this. It’s a person’s right to decide whether to be vaccinated, period. But if it is demonstrated that the vast majority of Covid hospitalizations are attributable to unvaccinated citizens, then they should foot more of the costs of such treatments,’ wrote Bryan Greene.
‘Yeah! Same if you smoke, live a sedentary lifestyle, have a BMI that is over 5%, live in an area that has a correlation to higher cancer rates, tax em all!’ Ellis Champagne responded.
‘The same logic could be applied to any problem, medical or otherwise, where non-conforming individuals incur a cost to society at large.’ replied Fuga Mundi.
Reid mentioned Germany, among other countries, during her broadcast.
Although vaccinations are not mandatory in Germany, the authorities have taken measures that make it increasingly difficult to remain unvaccinated.
There is no longer a free COVID-19 test, which is required for indoor dining at restaurants.
A number of German states also allow businesses, such as restaurants and sports stadiums, to admit customers based on their negative test results or if they have received a vaccination or have just recovered from COVID-19.
As part of her program, Reid spoke with MSNBC medical contributor Dr. Lipi Roy, who argued that unvaccinated people should not be denied medical treatment, but that they should be put on a ‘triage list’ that only results in a ‘certain type of care.’
As of now, Roy does not plan to give up on the unvaccinated.
‘Sadly, I’m aware of what’s happening to hospitals and health care facilities all over the world. Hospitalizations in the United States increased 30 percent this past week,’ Roy stated.
‘And what’s happening is that this atrocious strain, this massive strain on hospitals and medical facilities is resulting in hospitals being short-staffed, doctors, nurses getting infected themselves.
‘There are many possible interventions that we can impose on the people who choose – continue to choose to be unvaccinated, increased insurance premiums, creating a list – or a triage list, so when people come to the hospital, maybe one of the first questions we ask is, are you vaccinated, and then that will direct them towards a certain type of care?’
‘There are several things that we can do,’ the doctor continued. ‘But I’m not giving up on the people that remain unvaccinated, Joy. We still need to get them vaccinated. I think we need to find other measures and mandates and other measures to really get them to get vaccinated.’
It is likely that corporations will be at the forefront of these new rules. Kroger will stop offering COVID-19 benefits to unvaccinated workers this year in an effort to encourage more workers to get inoculated amid rising concerns about the spread of Omicron coronavirus variants.
The company had 465,000 full-time and part-time employees in January, making it one of the biggest private employers in the U.S.
As a result, unvaccinated employees will no longer receive paid COVID-19 leaves and non-union salaried employees enrolled in company health insurance policies will have to pay a $50 monthly surcharge.
According to Wade Symons, group leader for regulatory resources at Mercer, companies have tried other methods to get employees to get vaccinated, but have not achieved the desired results.
Vaccination efforts are underway amid President Biden’s struggles to implement his vaccine-or-test mandate.
Unvaccinated employees may be more expensive for their employers to cover as far as health insurance is concerned.
‘I think employers sort of see hitting employees in the wallet as a true motivator that … should increase vaccination levels.’
‘So if I’m an employer that is self-insured and pays the claims for my health insurance, and I have employees that are unvaccinated and have the potential, not only to get COVID-19 themselves but also potentially to affect others … I want to have them pay more to try to offset some of those costs,’ concluded Symons.