Late-night wacky overdosed-on-Obamacare-MSM-chatter thought experiment…
Since the H1N1 “None dare call it swine” flu stubbornly refuses to disappear, even though we’re all really bored by the whole thing now, the Obama Administration Medical Death Squad uses a previously obscure provision of the Patriot Act to declare a national emergency. In order to prevent the next wave of the pandemic from completely overwhelming America’s aging and underfunding public health system, Secretary Sibelius announces that full Medicare coverage will be offered to any American citizen who agrees to be vaccinated against both the seasonal and H1N1 flu strains. Vaccination tents, staffed by volunteer medical personnel with the assistance of the National Guard, will be opened in every state and large city, and travelling medical caravans will also be dispatched.
The imminent-but-not-yet-available H1N1 vaccine is currently being <A HREF=”http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/30/health/30flu.html”> “prioritized”</A> for approximately half the population, including pregnant women, health care workers, children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years, those caring for children under the age of 6 months, otherwise healthy young people between the ages of 18 and 24, and those between the ages of 24 and 64 with pre-existing conditions medical problems like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. Since healthy 18-24 year olds, adults with other medical issues, and the grossly underpaid people who work in daycare centers, nursing homes, and as home health providers probably constitute a good portion of the current uninsured 47/50 million Americans, extending Medicare coverage would presumably capture a lot of “volunteers”. People over 64 seem to have an unusual immunity to the new H1N1 strain, but those people are already covered by Medicare.
And of course there is the issue of whether “enough” doses of the vaccine can be produced in time to beat the predicted next wave… but since only about 40% of the target population gets the seasonal vaccination in any given year, either a similar percentage will shirk the new Pandemic Special, or we’ll discover there are a lot more people desperate for medical insurance than Betsy Mcaughey & Bill Kristol (http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2009/07/31/bill_betsy/index.htm) would have you believe.
P.S. Did we mention the vaccine is still “untested”? And it’s the first swine-derived vaccine since 1976 and the <A HREF=”http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/09/health/09vaccine.html?fta=y”>Guillain-Barré</A> scare?
Also, it will contain <A HREF=”http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/30/eveningnews/main5199450.shtml”>thimerosol</A>!