Well, it seems that we have finally reached the point in the pandemic everyone was dreading: President Biden has issued a vaccine mandate. Progressives have always wanted control of healthcare in Washington, and this vaccine mandate provides us with a glimpse of what Medicare for all will bring us: a choice for none.

So, how did we get here? Frankly, it’s been a long time coming. The legislative branch has continually abdicated its power to that of the executive, and as a result, we get executive orders, like this one, that overstep the Constitutional boundaries of executive power. Add in the global pandemic in the mix and thus, a perfect storm for something like this to occur.

At this stage in the pandemic, we have effective treatment options and multiple vaccines. We locked down in the beginning, which was not a sustainable option. So, we tried masking and social distancing in the community. Here we are a year and a half later, still arguing over masking when we have successfully acquired the resources to combat this virus. It is time for the government to take a step back and allow Americans to make informed decisions with their physicians about the resources available to them. The choice needs to be put back into the hands of the people and their doctors; it must not lie with the government.

The true tyranny in all of this, though, is the government has decided to invest less in attaining monoclonal antibodies, the highly effective treatment for those who contract COVID and become seriously ill. As cases surged in September, the federal government decided to cut Alabama’s shipment of life-saving medication all because they are unhappy with the current vaccination rate. It is clear the government is attempting to punish patients if they do not comply with this mandate. The government seems to literally want more people to die here because the choices the people make are contrary to what the government wants to choose for them. How long before they decide to punish you for not complying with a heart-healthy diet? Will they look at your dietary habits prior to receiving your life-saving heart catheterization?

It is evident that under progressive philosophy, individual choice is obsolete. The government, with its current leadership, has jumped straight to mandates at every opportunity. Government by its very nature looks for things that it can control, and this time is no different. Why couldn’t Biden order a federal vaccine incentive instead? They could give every American $1,000 to get vaccinated, and it would only take up 9.5% of their proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. It would surely promote more enthusiastic compliance than a forced mandate.

  • "One size does not fit all: Sink family urges COVID patients to be more involved in treatment" in today's 1819 News

  • Caleb Crosby: Unfortunately – in this present moment with COVID-19 – we do not know what mitigation attempts or treatment options will be deemed successful, what will be deemed ineffective, or what will even be determined to be harmful in the future. COVID-19, historically speaking, is an incredibly new disease and we will not for some time, maybe decades, have the data and research to know exactly what helps patients when they start to exhibit symptoms and what harms them. Read more in "We must prevent Government malpractice" in the 1819 Opinion section. 

During the height of the pandemic, we at HHS looked for the most effective method to decrease overall death rates in nursing homes. We considered both penalties and incentives to improve outcomes. We chose incentives, and the program was a success because a vast majority of nursing homes willingly participated, found the program helpful, and felt it helped improve their ability to fight the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities.  

Our founders understood that restraint comes from checks and balances between the branches of government, but it also requires those in power to support and defend the Constitution. Government mandates such as this are simply un-American. Allowing individuals the freedom to make their own choices is essential, especially when it comes to healthcare. Individualized care that centers on the doctor-patient relationship is the backbone of our healthcare system, and there is no “one size fits all” fix to any health issue, as much as we may want this pandemic to be behind us. 

Vaccine mandates are not the solution. We must consider policies, such as incentives, that allow for both the betterment of public health as well as individual choice.

Dr. Chad Mathis is a former senior policy advisor at Health and Human Services in the Trump Administration, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, entrepreneur, and a distinguished fellow at the Alabama Policy Institute.  The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.