Biden’s vaccine strong-arm: White House considers WITHHOLDING federal funds from institutions like nursing homes, universities and cruise ships in a bid to coerce the 90M eligible who have not got shots
- The Biden administration is reportedly considering withholding funds from institutions in an effort to boost vaccine rates
- A White House official did not deny the reports in a FOX News interview
- The plan would reportedly call for withholding funds from long-term care facilities, cruise ships and universities until their employees are vaccinated
- One aspect of the plan would restrict Medicare payments to long-term and nursing homes until their employees are vaccinated
- Approximately 90 million Americans are eligible for the COVID vaccine but have so far refused to get it
- Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases is continuing to rise as a result of the highly-transmissible Delta variant
6 August, 2021
The Biden administration did not deny reports on Thursday that it is considering withholding federal funds from institutions in an effort to boost vaccination rates as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise throughout the country.
‘Any reported ideas under consideration are in early conversations and pre-decisional,’ the official said in a statement. ‘There are no imminent policy decisions as to preview at this time.’
Skeptics of the plan claim it could trigger backlash in heavily Republican areas, where vaccine rates are the lowest, and further agitate conservatives who are already upset by the Biden administration’s COVID mandates.
They note that even if Biden did withhold federal funds to force people to get vaccinated, it would still take them five or six weeks to reach immune status, during which time, COVID cases continue to rise.
Others, however, have been pushing for the White House to take a more forceful approach to encourage people to get vaccinated.
‘If you look through history, there are presidents who – even in the absence of legal authority – influence people,’ Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, who organized a joint statement between nearly 60 medical groups urging every health facility to require its employees get vaccinated, told the Post.
‘I think wisely using the federal spending power is absolutely right,” Lawrence Gostin, who directs Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, added.
‘The federal government can’t directly mandate a vaccine,’ he said. ‘It can use its spending power to say to a state, “You mandate vaccinations. And if you don’t, we’ll withhold certain federal dollars.”‘
Gostin said he has warned the White House, however, to use its power judiciously, not by ‘bludgeoning the private sector;’ but rather by ‘starting with high-risk settings with an absolute ethical obligation and legal obligation to keep your workers and your clients safe.’
The comments come just a few hours after the Washington Post reported that the administration is discussing the possibility of withholding funds from long-term care facilities, cruise ships and universities, hoping to encourage some of the 90 million unvaccinated Americans to get the jab.
One aspect of the plan, the Post reports, would entail restricting access to federal funds such as Medicare to these nursing homes and long-term care facilities until their employees get vaccinated.
The number of people getting COVID shots has been declining in recent weeks, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control, even as the number of COVID cases continues to rise amid the spread of the highly-transmissible Delta variant.
As of Thursday, 58.2 percent of the total population has received at least one vaccine, the CDC reports, while 49.9 percent are fully vaccinated.
About a quarter of those who are unvaccinated have reported they plan to get the vaccine by the end of the year, and nearly 3 percent of unvaccinated Americans said they would get vaccinated only if required to do so for school, work or other activities, according to a July survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
That is down from June, when 6 percent of unvaccinated Americans said they would only get the shot if they were required to.
Meanwhile, the COVID rate is increasing amid the spread of the Delta variant.
There was a 64.1 percent increase in daily new cases last week when compared to the week before, according to the CDC, with a total of 34.7 million new COVID cases reported as of July 28.