Letter: Vaccination is matter of personal choice

America is the land of individual choice and personal responsibility. That’s why I believe no one in our great country should be forced to get a vaccine for COVID. For the same reason, anyone who is able to get the vaccine, but refuses to do so, should be dropped from their health insurance policy if they contract COVID and require treatment for it.

As a responsible American adult, I pay monthly for health insurance coverage. My monthly premiums are based, largely, on the statistically predictable cost of treatment of not just myself, but the average cost of treatment of all insurance customers similarly situated. Understandably, the risk (and thus the cost of coverage) goes up for the insurance company if their customers choose to smoke cigarettes, for example. It also rises dramatically if they require hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills to treat an illness they could have prevented with a $10 vaccine but chose not to.

You’re free to make that choice. But I shouldn’t have to pay for it through increased monthly premiums.

Other types of insurance work this way already. For instance, a policy purchased by a business that insures its assets against theft typically requires the business owner to lock the doors overnight. It’s not hard to see, logically, how the cost of that policy would rise dramatically without such a requirement.

I’m only proposing that we apply the same principle to health insurance, with respect to vaccination. Foregoing the vaccine is like leaving your doors unlocked — you’re perfectly free to take that risk, but others should not have to pay for your choices.

Now, I may not understand your decision to refuse the vaccine, but American citizens are perfectly free to decide for themselves. In fact, freedom of choice is a cornerstone of our culture. However, if you make a financially irresponsible decision about your health, I should not be made to bear the consequences of your actions in the form of higher premiums.

Therefore, anyone who refuses to be vaccinated (excluding those prevented by health conditions from doing so) should not have their COVID treatment covered by insurance should they contract the disease. Now, if that means you have to sell your house and/or declare bankruptcy, that is tragic. But we all must understand: with personal choice comes personal responsibility.

Joe Townsend

Steamboat Springs

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