Should the Anti-Vax Camp Pay More for Insurance?

Christie Haskell

Not everyone on the other side is a mindless sheep, okay?

As if insurance isn't costly enough, physician Rahul K. Parikh has announced that he and a colleague think it's time to make people who don't vaccinate pay higher insurance premiums.

He says the poorer people who will be affected by it are the ones who've bought into celebrity scare tactics, and those who it won't affect financially, more affluent families, aren't the ones who are moving against vaccinations in the first place (which means he hasn't seen studies that show that the poorer the person, the more likely they are to have vaccinated on the AAP's schedule).

He seems to think we're all idiotic, fear-mongering, celebrity-bowing cattle, and I'd like to flip him a giant, um, something offensive.

Whenever you read something about folks who don't vaccinate, you always see people who (erroneously) believe that the only reason people avoid it is because they're terrified of autism, and believe Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy. I guess actually stopping to consider some of the other concerns is too much work, so they'd rather pretend it's just that simple ... and then they're offended when we don't all go, "Oh! Thanks for telling me Jenny McCarthy's not a doctor! Let me run out and jab six needles in my son right now!"

Parikh points to the books by Paul Offit, as if we should automatically believe every single thing a man who helped invent and profits from the rotovirus vaccine 'RotaTeq' says. Is he suggesting that we shouldn't consider our own thoughts or those of medical professionals who don't financially benefit? Should we instead bow down to his own brand of fear-mongering as the absolute truth? He says he can't understand why Offit's books don't convince people. I think it's because Offit's books are aggressive fear-mongering and rude, just like Parikh! And Parikh's idea of making parents who choose not to vaccinate have their insurance premiums skyrocket just comes off as arrogant.

You want to talk about benefits of vaccinations, be my guest. But stop implying that everyone you don't agree with only does so because they're uneducated morons. Maybe the thing you should be looking to accomplish isn't raising insurance premiums, but addressing the ACTUAL concerns of your patients and seeing if you can help calm their fears rather than laughing at them and rolling your eyes, or even find out if there is some legitimacy in some of the fears, and see if you can find a good middle ground?

You might find people don't respond so aggressively against you if you don't treat them like morons in the first place. Just a thought.

Look, I'm not anti-vaccine. In fact, I feel that both extremes -- vaccinating on the AAP schedule and not at all -- have some pluses and negatives, but this kind of attitude just seriously chaps my hide (and for the record, those who tell me I'm an idiot and destroying my child's body by giving any shots piss me off, too).

This idea, that people who choose not to vaccinate for any reason should warrant higher insurance premiums, may make some clap. But then consider if you do that, why not raise it for those who choose to formula feed? Or those who flip their toddler's car seat before the age of two? Maybe the idea is not so cool now? Despite what you may think is the right answer, people still have a right to their choice, and reasons for it as well, that vary immensely.

How do you feel about forcing higher premiums on those who, for whatever reason, choose not to vaccinate, on schedule or at all?


Image via mediadeo/Flickr

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