EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Rand Paul is leading the charge to hold taxpayer-funded health institutions accountable for denying unvaccinated people critical care, including organ transplants.
Legislation introduced Tuesday from Paul, R-Ky., would bar federal funds from going to health care facilities that have denied patients care based on their COVID-19 vaccination status. It would also protect the rights of patients to make decisions about their health without being penalized.
“No American should be denied access to critical care based on a personal medical decision, yet tragically, many hospitals and other medical facilities continue to discriminate against those unvaccinated for COVID-19,” Paul told Fox News Digital.
TEEN DENIED KIDNEY TRANSPLANT BECAUSE SHE’S NOT VACCINATED FOR COVID, SAY PARENTS
“The COVID-19 Vaccination Non-Discrimination Act will protect the rights of vulnerable patients to make their own health care choices and ensure that federal taxpayer dollars do not support facilities that turn away patients based on their COVID-19 vaccination status,” he said.
According to Paul’s office, the American Medical Association (AMA) has urged doctors to still provide care for patients, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. However, there have been instances nationwide that reveal health care facilities receiving taxpayer dollars are doing the opposite.
One case is a 14-year-old girl in North Carolina who was denied a kidney transplant from Duke University Hospital because she was never vaccinated against COVID. The patient argued she already had the virus and therefore had natural immunity.
“I said, ‘So basically you’re telling us if she does not get the vaccine, then she’s not getting a transplant,'” Chrissy Hicks, mother of 14-year-old Yulia Hicks, told Fox News in December. “And [the medical employee] said, ‘Yes, that is the one thing that is holding us up.’”
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Duke Health officials said they would not comment on individual patient cases, but that “our hearts go out to all families coping with the serious illness of a loved one” and the health system is “committed to making organ transplant accessible to as many eligible patients as possible.”
“There’s no reason that medical facilities should deny care to people based on their COVID-19 vaccination status, and there’s certainly no reason for institutions that do so to receive any federal funding,” added Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., who is introducing the legislation on the House side.
Bishop called a remedy to the “injustice” patients are facing nationwide.
Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, J.D. Vance of Ohio, Mike Braun of Indiana and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota are also original co-sponsors of the bill.
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