Allow Albertans to Opt out of COVID Restrictions - With Strings Attached

Allow Albertans to Opt out of COVID Restrictions - With Strings Attached

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Robert Carver started this petition to Jason Kenney (Premier of Alberta) and

Alberta’s public health measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic were created, in part, to protect the health care system from being overwhelmed. The majority of Albertans have complied with these measures, and compliance came at a cost that most people were willing to bear. The real-world effects of this include declines in mental health and physical health, isolation from friends and family, and countless inconveniences. But the understanding among the majority was that this was a trade-off: sacrifices meant that doctors would not have to choose between who lives and who dies; sacrifices meant that hospitals would have beds free to complete non-urgent surgeries; sacrifices meant that our kids could go to school; sacrifices meant that we would get through this quicker, and with less sickness and death.

Most of us have expressed frustration at the measures, but complied and continue to comply because we understand that we are individuals within a society. A tiny minority of Albertans have gone beyond expressions of frustration and have openly violated very clear public health measures that have the force of law behind them.

The declared motivations of this minority are varied, but they revolve around a central theme: personal freedom. These individuals argue that the public health measures go too far and unreasonably infringe upon their freedoms.

We urge the Alberta government to give this minority what it wants. We are asking the government to allow adult Albertans to decide for themselves whether or not the trade-offs we describe above are worth it. If someone does not believe that COVID-19 is a threat to them, let’s take them at their word.

We propose that any competent adult should be able to opt out of the COVID-19 restrictions. In our proposal, they are deemed to have opted out by:

·         Posting their intention to opt out publicly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platform;

·         Attending any event that they know, or should know, will result in their not following the health restrictions in place at the time; or

·         Publicly instructing or advising others not to follow the health restrictions in place at the time.

By taking one of these three actions, an individual declares that they do not consider COVID-19 to be of real concern to themselves or others. But because they are not participating in protective restrictions and preventing COVID-19, they agree that they are not entitled to any of the benefits that arise from these restrictions.  

We are proposing that publicly-funded health insurance exclude coverage for  COVID-specific treatment where someone has opted out of the restrictions. This is similar to insurance policies that exclude coverage for high-risk activities like bungee-jumping or skydiving. Those who opt out of the restrictions retain health care coverage for everything except COVID-specific treatment, but COVID-related costs would come out of their own pockets. Emergency treatment would be provided regardless of ability to pay, and repayment could be amortized. This ensures that health care is provided, but that the financial risk is carried by the individual enjoying the freedom from protective restrictions. Vaccines would continue to be free for all individuals.

We are proposing delayed non-essential surgeries for anyone who opts out and is hospitalized for COVID-related symptoms. One consequence of a health care system with capacity is a limited backlog of non-essential surgeries. Right now in Alberta, non-essential surgeries are being delayed in order to accommodate a surge in COVID cases. When these surgeries resume, anyone who has opted out and contracted COVID resulting in a hospital visit must agree that any non-essential surgery they require will wait until the backlog of non-essential surgeries returns to pre-pandemic levels. This reflects the fact that health care capacity is consumed when someone is hospitalized for COVID-19. It also ensures that someone who was in line for surgery and followed the restrictions does not suffer because someone else enjoyed freedom from those restrictions.

We are proposing back-of-the-line priority in case the health system is overwhelmed. Another benefit of health system capacity is available emergency care. Alberta has developed a Critical Care Triage Protocol in case the health system is overwhelmed and doctors need to triage patients for treatment. If this situation arises, we propose that anyone who opts out falls into the lowest priority category: after all, they believe that COVID does not pose a risk to them and they have enjoyed freedom from the protective restrictions. Why should another person die if someone willingly takes a risk for themselves?

We sign this petition because we believe that these proposals are fair for those who are eager to opt out of the restrictions, and for those who choose to adhere to them. They acknowledge an individual's desire for freedom while also acknowledging the role of society in protecting its most vulnerable. They allow competent adults to evaluate risks and accept the consequences. They give us choice and protection at the same time.  

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!