Monday Teeny Poll

Last week I asked if a 17 year old was too young to be Miss America, and 72% of you think just that.  I agree.  The funny thing is, I don’t really have any “facts” to back that up with, it’s just my gut feeling.  I will be honest, I was fairly selfish and self-centered at 17, and I can’t imagine having to do all of the things a Miss America is supposed to do at that age.  However, maybe I was just an immature brat.  Not completely out of the realm of possibility, I’m afraid.

Today, I wanted to point you to a fascinating discussion going on over at BoingBoing and find out what your views are on the topic, which come from an article written by pediatrician Rahul K. Parikh on CNN.

8 Responses to “Monday Teeny Poll”

  1. dr nic January 24, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    Insurance for anything includes an assessment of risk. When you have risky behaviors, you pay more for insurance. That’s why when you apply for disability insurance you get asked if you do things like: skydive, race cars, etc. Not vaccinating put you at higher risk of getting certain diseases, making it more likely for the health insurer to pay for a claim, so of course the premium should be higher.

  2. class factotum January 24, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    I thought you did have to show a certificate of vaccination in the US. Maybe I’m wrong.

    My great-great-something grandmother watched all six of her children die in seven days from diphtheria. (She then went on to have eight more children, who did live to adulthood, hence my existence.) I think some of the anti-vaccine crowd doesn’t know anything about history.

  3. marvel January 24, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    @Class factotum: Most school systems allow a “philosophical” or “religious” exemption to mandatory vaccination laws, so parents can choose to opt out.

    I don’t understand why “universal” health care would obviate the issue; parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are putting their own children and other children at risk for otherwise preventable diseases, many of which can lead to death and long-term disabilities. The point of having parents pay higher premiums if they choose not to vaccinate their kids is to make up for the increased cost of caring for kids who get sick with vaccine-preventable illness. The costs are higher whether they are covered by private insurance or by taxpayer-funded universal health care. Either the parents pay (in part) for their personal choice, or we all do, through higher premiums or higher taxes. Though I will add that no amount of money can make up for your baby dying of pertussis, or measles, or H flu B.

    For data on the risks of refusing to have your child vaccinated, see for instance: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm57e222a1.htm
    and
    http://children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20090123/hib-outbreak-kills-unvaccinated-child

    And I will now step down from my soapbox…

    • Glinda January 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

      Well, the universal care option was somewhat tounge-in-cheek, but if we had it, then the parents would not be forced to pay higher premiums out of pocket, but the cost would be shared among all.

      • marvel January 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

        Oh, but my point was that we currently share the costs associated with vaccine refusal through higher insurance premiums. Switching to a taxpayer-funded universal system wouldn’t change that.

        • Glinda January 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

          Right, but we wouldn’t be discussing whether to raise individual premiums if we had universal healthcare.

          Right?

          Maybe I’m particularly obtuse today.

          • class factotum January 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

            If we had universal healthcare and I was really going to be paying for everyone else’s care instead of just those covered by my insurance company, then I would become a total vaccination nazi. If your risky behavior (I’m also talking to you, people who drive a motorcycle without a helmet) is going to cost me money, then I have the right to tell you that you’re not allowed to indulge in that behavior.

          • marvel January 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

            No, I’m not being clear.

            There are 2 reasons to raise insurance premiums on parents who don’t vaccinate their kids:

            1. It costs more to treat vaccine-preventable illnesses than to give vaccines. Therefore we should raise premiums for parents who refuse vaccines to cover these costs. (I think your comment about universal health care responds to this reason).

            2. Refusing to vaccinate your own kids poses a societal risk. Some children cannot receive vaccines because of immunodeficiencies, cancer, age, true allergies, etc. These children rely on “herd” immunity to not get measles, etc. Also, no vaccine is 100% effective and the reason the rates of vaccine-preventable illness drop precipitously isn’t because 100% of the population is immune; it’s because the 85-95% of people who are immune break the cycle of communicability. Refusing to vaccinate your own kids puts other kids who have been vaccinated (but who may not have responded)at risk as well.

            Raising premiums is one way of effectively communicating to parents who refuse vaccines that they are increasing health care risks for all. It’s like increasing taxes on cigarettes, or on gasoline, in an attempt to modify behavior. (If you make gasoline more expensive, people will use less. If you make refusing vaccines more expensive than getting them, more people will get vaccines).

            Even with universal health care (no premiums), reason 2 still stands. You might not increase the costs to vaccine refusers through increased premiums, but you could charge fees, or penalties.

            Finally, my original point is that regardless of how we pay for health care, we all currently share the costs associated with vaccine-refusal. We just all pay higher premiums, rather than all paying higher taxes.