A New York lawmaker is proposing a bill that would allow health insurance companies to deny coverage to those who refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
“I’m introducing a bill that allows insurance providers to deny coverage for Covid related treatment to those who refuse to be vaccinated. Do your part or pay your own way. Freedom isn’t free,” New York State Assemblyman Patrick Burke (D-Buffalo) wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
Burke, a Democrat, told WKBW that the legislation would give insurance providers the option to deny coverage for Covid-related treatments. He said the bill is in the early stages and still being drafted.
“I know we’re all tired of this pandemic and it’s largely being perpetuated by variants of Covid that keep sprouting up and they’re mostly sprouting up in unvaccinated populations,” Burke told the Buffalo TV station.
“We need to do everything we can to incentivize people to get vaccinated... If folks are demanding their freedom, they have the freedom to not get vaccinated, to increase the likelihood of spreading a very dangerous disease, then I don’t know if the insurance pool and the rest of us should be covering for their very, very bad decisions that are already hurting us in a different way.”
WIVB reports Burke’s proposal went viral on social media, sparking criticism.
“Denying coverage to those choices you disagree with isn’t progressive, it’s wrong,” responded Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a former State Assemblyman.
“Your BMI puts you at risk of every major disease. No more medicine for you under your proposal, right?” conservative commentator Mike Cernovich tweeted.
“Have you lost your mind and any sense of decency? Also, please explain how this would be any different from denying abortion coverage to women that don’t take contraception,” added Todd Aldinger, a Buffalo-based attorney.
Burke defended the potential legislation in a series of tweets.
“Let me know when smoking and obesity become highly contagious diseases that disrupt every facet of life, overwhelm hospitals, and cost the government trillions of dollars,” Burke wrote.
“All of a sudden, Republicans care about healthcare in this country? No, this is another way to give a wink to Covid deniers. What a phony,” he responded to Molinaro. “Where were you when the GOP was working to dismantle the Affordable Care Act?”
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