Republican State Rep. favors health care & vaccine rationing

State Rep. Brett Davis, a Republican running for Lt. Governor, has a big problem with the state giving the H1N1 vaccine to high-risk female prisoners at Taycheedah Correctional Institution. Forty-five doses of the H1N1 vaccine were given to pregnant female inmates, who are included as one of the vulnerable groups being targeted for inoculation during the ongoing nationwide vaccine shortage.

“No one wants to be inhumane,” Davis said, “BUT there are pregnant women who have been law-abiding citizens who are having trouble getting the vaccine.”

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin has received approximately 300,000 doses of flu vaccine, most of which has already been administered to health care workers and other targeted groups.

In speaking about the forty-five doses of vaccine given to pregnant inmates at Taycheedah Correctional Institution, Rep. Davis went on to add, “Hopefully, there’ll be more vaccine made available and we can serve everybody, but if it doesn’t happen, we’ll have to continue to make tough decisions.”

If you’re a moderate Republican vying for a higher office, I suppose coming out in support of denying vaccines and proper health care to at-risk inmates is one way to boost your standing among conservative voters who might be skeptical of your conservative credentials.

H/T to Democurmudgeon.


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10 thoughts on “Republican State Rep. favors health care & vaccine rationing

  1. It seems to me prisoners would be at an even higher risk of swine flu, due to so many of them being held in so little area. Between that and being pregnant, I don’t think vaccinating 40 some people is any sort of problem at all.
    I saw a press release Rep. Davis issued, but it didn’t mention that only pregnant inmates were getting the vaccine. Definitely looks like posturing for higher office.

    1. Jim, that’s the reasoning behind giving the pregnant inmates the vaccine; they’re at a higher risk, and something like the flu usually spreads like wildfire within a correctional institution. This is as much about protecting staff from getting the flu as it is about protecting the inmates.

  2. It’s also about protecting the state from further lawsuits over inadequate medical care and wrongful death at Taycheedah. The treatment of prisoners there has been a scandal for decades. Many of those pregnant inmates were not pregnant when they were first incarcerated.

    1. Yeah, there’s that too, Jill. Taycheedah is slowly getting better, but there was a lot wrong with how things were being done there for a long time.

  3. I think titling your post as you did is the real disingenuous step that should be discussed.

    Davis’ stance is common sense – I don’t think it has much of a hardcore conservative tinge to it at all.

    In the face of scarcity, the government may have to decide whether some people get the vaccine and others do not. I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to argue against prioritizing Taycheedah inmates here because that particular population has a) broken the law and forfeited some rights as a result until end of sentence, and b) is confined in a location where it is less likely to contract or transmit the disease to the general population.

    1. As discussed earlier, their confinement means that if one inmate contracts the virus, many inmates, and more importantly, prison staff are at risk.

    2. So Brad, tell me….do inmates forfeit the right to medical treatment because of their convictions?

      Also, do you have any experience in a correctional institution setting? I ask because if you did, you’d know that communicable diseases like the flu, tuberculosis, etc. spread like wildfire once they’re introduced into a confined setting, and keep in mind the prison population isn’t static – new intakes into the system could certainly bring with them something like the swine flu.

  4. I mentioned this in the comments at LiB, but Brad is right — the scare tactics about “rationing” are hyperbolic. This is what happens when government controls resources: it needs to decide how to allocate them. I don’t think prioritizing law-abiding citizens to receive a scare good under the government’s control is unfair, but this is the sort of debate we’ll be seeing more of should government seize control of health care in toto through universal health care.

    At any rate, my thoughts are a bit longer here.

  5. The vaccines are currently being rationed, it is not hyperbolic at all.

    Davis just doesn’t want it to go to those inhuman convicts who don’t deserve medical treatment. Those damn socialist and their government run health care in jail. (sarcasm on)

    I bet the inmates at gitmo already got the vaccine too.

  6. From the article,

    “In overcrowded jails and prisons … the risk of H1N1 contagion spreading among prisoners and correctional officers and then to the officers’ families and communities must be addressed vigorously,” Ahmuty said. “Prisoners are serving their debt to society, but being subjected to disease and death is not part of a just sentence in any civilized society.”

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