Polio, the whooping cough, and the mumps, among many other communicable diseases, were once prevalent in communities within the developed world and killed millions of people.1 The advent of vaccinations contained or eradicated several of these diseases.2 However, these diseases still exist in the environment3 and are making a comeback in the United States.4 Their persistence is directly attributable to the rising trend among parents refusing to vaccinate their children.5 One proposed solution to this problem is to hold parents liable in tort when others are harmed by their failure to vaccinate. Another proposed solution argues that parents should pay a tax when they fail to vaccinate their children. Although these proposals might have some limited benefits, there is a third and more efficacious solution: Congress should amend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to permit insurance companies to discriminately charge higher premiums to those who choose to not vaccinate. Part I lays out the problem of non-vaccination in more detail. Part II explains the shortcomings of tort liability and taxation as viable solutions to the problem. Part III describes the benefits of permitting insurance companies to charge higher premiums for non-vaccination and explains why Congress must amend the ACA before higher premiums can be charged.
The Affordable Care Act, Experience Rating, and the Problem of Non-Vaccination,
U. Mich. J. L. Reform Caveat
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjlr_caveat/vol49/iss1/8