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Reality Check: Yes, Vaccine Mandates Are Constitutional

"If unvaccinated patients are uninsured, they get treatment. If they are on Medicare or Medicaid, the taxpayers pick up the tab. And premiums will go up for the rest of us," John Avlon pointed out.
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CNN's John Avlon explains exactly why vaccine mandates are constitutional.

"It's often said that freedom isn't free, and that implies responsibility and balance between the individual and the community," he said.

"And that's all we're dealing with right now, as the delta variant cases spike and fill hospitals. The unvaccinated are holding America's recovery hostage. The anti-maskers turned anti-vaxxers are not just putting their own lives at risk -- if that was the issue, we could just watch them to compete to win, place or show in the Darwin awards. The problem is, we all going to pay for the politicization of science and health. That's why after months of offering encouragement and incentives, cities like New York and states like California have decided to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for government workers. The Department of Veterans Affairs now requiring vaccinations, raising the question of whether President Biden will expand the mandate to more federal agencies.

"This has provoked predictable outrage among the 'freedom to infect you' crowd. With a flurry of so-called medical freedom bills lying in wait, which former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson calls 'performative libertarianism.' All this screaming about freedom ignores the fact that five routine childhood vaccines for MMR are required for school in all 50 states. No one is requiring that to be overturned. It makes sense and it works. You'll still hear some folks wail that vaccine mandates are unconstitutional. That's just not true. This has been settled law for more than 115 years, when the Supreme Court ruled that states could impose reasonable requirements for immunization during a deadly smallpox outbreak.

"Now, in many states, there are religious and even philosophical exemptions from vaccine mandates. But it is not clear that owning the libs qualifies for those exemptions. Let's be honest. That is what we are dealing with here. A poisonous form. Your refusal to get a vaccine isn't libertarian, because it violates the principle that my right to swing my fist ends at your nose. You know what also isn't libertarian? Making other people pay for your mistakes. Get this. The average cost of hospital care in covid cases is as high as $78,000 for patients between ages 41 and 60. Remember, the unvaccinated now make up 97% of hospitalizations, virtually all preventable. You and I are gonna pay for that, one way or another. Because if those patients are uninsured, they still get treatment, presumably complaining about socialism in the process. If they are on Medicare or Medicaid, the taxpayers pick up the tab. And premiums will go up for the rest of us.

"Ironically, the unvaccinated will not pay a higher rate, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which bars discrimination on insurance costs. So for all that talk about freedom, the free market doesn't really apply here. They take the risk and the rest of us pay the cost. So much for the allegedly conservative value of personal responsibility -- but then, that's just been revealed to be another scam. Speaking of which: folks who think they are partisan warriors by refusing to get the vaccine might not know that Fox News is requiring its own version of a vaccine passport, while bigwig Republican donors were required to show a negative covid test to attend a posh RNC retreat in Florida.

"We know that covid disinformation can be deadly, so in this case is covid hypocrisy. But we're all reaping what they've sown. In the most absurd, self-defeating theology imaginable, lemmings scream toward a cliff while screaming about freedom. The danger is, they take the rest of us down with them while potentially compelling a new round of lockdowns that no one wants.

"That's why we need to remember, real freedom requires responsibility and a connection between common sense and common good. And that's your reality check."

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