No Federal Funds to Hospitals That Deny Care to Unvaccinated, Say GOP Lawmakers

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a bill on Tuesday that would hold hospitals accountable if they deny care to patients who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The legislation introduced by the Kentucky lawmaker, known as the COVID-19 Vaccination Non-Discrimination Act, would prohibit federal funds from being made available to health care facilities that discriminate against patients based on their COVID-19 vaccination status (pdf).

It would also protect the rights of vulnerable patients to make their own decisions about their health without being penalized, according to the senator.

The legislation is currently co-sponsored by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“No American should be denied access to critical care based on a personal medical decision, yet tragically, many hospitals and other medical facilities continue to discriminate against those unvaccinated for COVID-19,” Paul said in a statement.

“The COVID-19 Vaccination Non-Discrimination Act will protect the rights of vulnerable patients to make their own health care choices and ensure that federal taxpayer dollars do not support facilities that turn away patients based on their COVID-19 vaccination status.”

No Reason to Deny Care

Bishop also noted that there is “no reason that medical facilities should deny care to people based on their COVID-19 vaccination status, and there’s certainly no reason for institutions that do so to receive any federal funding.”

Paul noted that the American Medical Association (AMA) emphasizes that no physician should refuse a patient simply because the individual is not vaccinated or declines to be vaccinated.

“The commitment to care for those who are sick or injured carries with it a duty to treat in other circumstances as well, including public health crises when a physician may face ‘greater than usual risks to [their] own safety, health or life,'” the AMA said in a September 2021 statement.

Two women in Colorado were denied kidney transplants by UCHealth in 2021 because they declined the COVID-19 vaccine. One of the women, Leilani Lutali, even had her own donor lined up, but the hospital canceled the procedure because neither Lutali nor her donor, Jaimee Fougner, had received the vaccine, CBS News reported.

The other woman, Dawn McLaughlin, has polycystic kidney disease and was advised by her doctor not to get the vaccine, but the hospital move McLaughlin to the “inactive” transplant list, she told CBS News.

At the time, the hospital said in a statement: “For transplant patients who contract COVID-19, the mortality rate ranges from about 20 percent to more than 30 percent. This shows the extreme risk that COVID-19 poses to transplant recipients after their surgeries. UCHealth and transplant centers across the nation have requirements in place to protect surgical patients.”

Dozens of similar cases have been reported throughout the United States and beyond.

In December, 14-year-old Yulia Hicks was refused a kidney transplant by Duke University Hospital because she was unvaccinated. Her parents told “Fox & Friends Weekend” that Yulia had previously contracted the virus, recovered, and thus had natural immunity.

In a statement to Fox News Digital at the time, Duke University health officials said they were “committed to making organ transplant accessible to as many eligible patients as possible.”

In Alberta, Canada, a terminally ill woman named Annette Lewis was removed from an organ transplant list because she declined to get the COVID-19 shot. Lewis went on to file a legal challenge against Alberta Health Services, but an Alberta appeals court later dismissed the case.

CDC Acknowledges Natural Immunity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged that strong protection was granted by natural immunity after COVID-19 infection after conducting a study analyzing COVID-19 cases in California and New York in 2021 from May 30 through November of the same year.

That study found that individuals who had not received a COVID-19 vaccine but were infected previously with the illness were much less likely to test positive for COVID-19 again and also less likely to need hospitalization compared to vaccinated people who had not been infected with COVID-19.

However, unvaccinated individuals without prior infection were the most likely to contract COVID-19 and require hospital care, the study found.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.