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Ethics & Religion
August 25, 2021
Column #2,089
How To Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations
By Mike McManus

More than 90 million Americans are still unvaccinated against COVID-19. After months and months of lull in which there were relatively few new COVID infections and deaths, the nation is back to 140,000 new cases per day and 1,000 deaths each day, according to Johns Hopkins University.

There is some good news. The Biden Administration is now requiring its millions of civilian and military workers to get vaccinated - or face losing their jobs.

Some companies such as The Washington Post and United Airlines are also requiring all employees to get the COVID shot. Others are Walmart with 1.6 million employees, Google, Tyson Foods, United Airlines and Facebook.

Major college systems have done so as well, such as Louisiana State University with 30,000 students and hundreds of other universities which have issued mandates for both staff and students.

For example, 10 universities in California ordered mandates including California State University, 13 in Colorado like the University of Colorado, and in Washington D.C., Georgetown, George Washington and American University. In Illinois, 22 universities took this step including the University of Chicago and Illinois State University; 20 universities in Maryland such as the University of Maryland, and 54 institutions in Massachusetts made vaccination requirements of students and staff led by Harvard and MIT. Virtually every other U.S. university has taken similar steps.

Similarly, New York City, New Orleans and San Francisco all imposed proof of vaccination requirements at bars and other indoor venues.

Close to 6 in 10 Americans favor vaccinations to fly or attend crowded events, according to a poll by the Associated Press.

However, the cities and universities making these requirements will only reach a small fraction of the 90 million unvaccinated Americans.

What can be done to persuade 90 million people to be vaccinated?

Here's my answer: Health care corporations - such as Humana, with 16.8 million members, should require its members to get the COVID-19 vaccination - or face a substantial increase in monthly health care charges. A typical couple pays $168 a month for coverage. My wife and I have both gotten two COVID-19 shots.

But what if we had not been vaccinated? Humana could impose a 40% to 50% increase in the monthly premium to those who have not been vaccinated.

Similarly, Kaiser-Permanente had 12.5 million members in 2020. It could impose a similar big increase in its monthly premium to the unvaccinated.

If every health insurance plan made a similar request, tens of millions of unvaccinated Americans would get their COVID shot.

From the point of view of America's health insurance companies, there would be multiple benefits:

First, corporate health costs would fall, since fewer people would become infected with COVID-19.

Second, the premiums for the insurance policy could drop for those who are already vaccinated.

Third, as tens of millions of unvaccinated people get their shots, America's life expectancy would rise. Last year, COVID related deaths were so numerous, America's life expectancy dropped by a year, for the first time ever. That trend would be reversed.

Fourth, black and brown Americans, who live the shortest lives - would be able to add years to their lives, bringing their life expectancy up - perhaps to that of white Americans!

All of this could be achieved with leadership from America's major health care providers, such as Humana and Kaiser Permanente.

An increase in health care would create a win-win situation for both health care companies and for the greater society.

We would live longer, more productive lives.

This would be a win-win for health care companies. - and for all Americans.


Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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