Singapore halts free COVID treatment for people who are “unvaccinated by choice”
The Singaporean government will no longer cover medical bills for people who are “unvaccinated by choice” after Dec. 8, the country’s Ministry of Health announced Monday.
Why it matters: “We have to send this important signal to urge everyone to get vaccinated if you are eligible,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said at a news conference. 82.47% of Singapore’s population is fully vaccinated, per Johns Hopkins University.
Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.
How it works: Singapore has one of the best health care systems in the world, and it relies on privatized medical services, according to a New York Times analysis.
- Workers are also required to tuck away a portion of their salaries in health savings accounts based on varying criteria.
- The government’s decision to halt publicly funded treatments means hospitals will now foot the bill for unvaccinated people, who make up the bulk of new COVID cases and hospitalizations in the city-state.
- Treatment costs will still be “highly supported and highly subsidized,” Ong said, though he added that “our hospitals really much prefer not to have to bill these patients at all.”
What they’re saying: The government took on full costs for coverage to “avoid financial considerations adding to public uncertainty and concern when COVID-19 was an emergent and unfamiliar disease,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
- Now, unvaccinated people “disproportionately contribute to the strain on our healthcare resources.”
- Though the government will still fully cover medical bills for patients who are ineligible for the vaccine, it will begin charging the “unvaccinated by choice” on Dec. 8.
The big picture: Singapore reached a record high in new daily COVID cases and deaths in the last week of October.
Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, Has Been Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer
This follows his transfer to a medical facility in December
The new comes from a letter he wrote:
French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’
French president Macron’s desire to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated individuals triggers outrage
French President Emmanuel Macron faced significant criticism for his comments claiming that he would like to “piss off” unvaccinated individuals.
Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination.
“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”
The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response.
His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president.
“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”
She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC.
But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.”
Debate over Macron’s bill continue into Wednesday as opponents still seek to delay its passage. Some of his supporters claimed to have received death threats because they are backing the legislation, The New York Times reported.
Boston Mayor Wu Relentlessly Heckled As New COVID-19 Restrictions Are Announced
Boston unveils the ‘Be Together’ initiative, requiring full vaccination for entry to restaurants, gyms, and sports arenas for anyone 12 and older. In March the mandate will phase-in for younger children.