Gov. Perry’s Gardasil Debate

Texas Governor Rick Perry has opened up a can of worms with his executive order to require inoculations of children with the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.  Although his political opponents for the Republican nomination for president have focused the issue on this particular vaccine and whether or not his order was payback for political contributions, there is the much broader issue of when the government can order medical treatment for an individual.

At issue is when does the public good outweigh the rights of the individual.  Historically, governments have ordered quarantines of neighborhoods where contagious illnesses were found.  Whole sections of cities have been cordoned off when there have been outbreaks of smallpox, typhoid and other deadly diseases.  State and local officials also forcibly detained infected people or exposed individuals.  Remember Typhoid Mary?  Although not ill herself, she was a carrier of the disease that infected others.  New York City health officials detained her and forced her to live in isolation on North Brother Island off New York to keep her from infecting anyone else.  My own grandfather, like many tuberculosis victims, was sent to a sanitorium for recuperation and to isolate him from the public at large.

So when should the government, at any level, exercise its authority to protect the public?  Can the government force the individual to be vaccinated even if the vaccines come with side effects. 

It should be required when failure to take necessary precautions, such as vaccinations, can lead to public health outbreaks that are deadly or have serious medical consequences.  If you are old enough to remember the polio epidemics, you know that the polio vaccine, whatever the side effects, is better than the disease.  Other contagious, infectious diseases, such as diphtheria, whooping cough, measles and the like must be prevented even if the patient does not want the inoculation.

What then about non-contagious or non-life threatening illnesses such as Gov. Perry’s HPV?  After all, the vaccine prevents the person from catching the virus.  The virus itself does not necessarily lead to cervical cancer; it is just one of the causes.  Should the government, at any level, require a person to be vaccinated because they might catch something that might lead to something more serious that might or might not be spread to another person?  Or is this pushing government’s caring for the individual just a bit too far?  Because if it is pushing government’s reach too far, then what about governments’ efforts to regulate sugar intake, fats, salt, the types of food you eat and the number of calories that you take in?

Remember that the government regulates your life for the greater public good, both yours and the population at large.  So when the government gets involved in discretionary health care mandates, how does it justify its actions?  The answer that you will usually get is because your personal habits, whether it is eating the ‘wrong’ foods, smoking, drinking or something else, becomes a public expense. 

If you chose to smoke, the government pays for your cancer treatment.  If you chose to drink, the government pays for your detox stay.  If you chose to eat fatty foods, the government pays for your heart transplant.  Since they have the vested interest of taxpayer money, the government asserts the right to regulate how you live, as a budget impact item.

Do you want to live your life without the government looking over your shoulder?  To do that you have to get the government out of the health care business.  Think about it.  If you were responsible for the cost of your medical care, your personal habits would be between you and your private insurance company.  How you chose to live your life would not be a government issue because it would not have a financial stake in your health.  In short, to preserve your liberty, government health insurance has to be abolished.

Government health insurance programs, such as Medicare, would need to be vouchered for those entitled to it.  Private insurance companies would compete to issue senior policies if they knew that the government was giving the retiree the cash to pay for the premium.  The poor on Medicaid could also be given vouchers for health insurance.  It would have the added benefit of helping educate them in the workings of the free market system by giving them the lesson of choices rather than the dictated coverage of a State-run health plan.

So why do we let the government tell us how to live our lives?  Mostly because we have let them.  This administration took a big piece of your freedom and a big bite out ouf your wallet when they passed Obamacare but you can fight this.  Elect free thinking representatives who will abolish the government’s role in health care.  You will get your freedom to live your life back if you do.


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