To the editor: I see in today’s paper that the Legislature will be considering an amendment to the telehealth bill that would allow individuals to opt out of vaccine requirements at private businesses.
For generations, one of the ways the Republican Party has defined itself has been as a defender of free markets. I’m not sure how Republicans in the Legislature can square that with the idea that a private business should not be able to determine its own vaccination policies. It may or may not be good for business to require employees and customers to be vaccinated, but it is certainly none of government’s business to interfere with that decision by a private business owner.
Ultimately, if a business chooses to require vaccinations and employees or customers feel strongly enough about it, it will present an opportunity for other businesses to capitalize on that by taking those workers and customers. That’s the way the free market is supposed to work. Any Republican lawmaker who votes not to allow private businesses to determine their own vaccination policies, while also opposing the president’s attempt to mandate vaccinations for businesses with more than 100 employees, cannot claim to be in favor of free markets. Both ideas represent government intrusion into an area where it has no business, and both sides are simply in favor of their own policy preferences and partisan interests.
I’d like to say that Republican support for this kind of interference with the rights of business owners surprises or disappoints me, but it unfortunately does not. It looks like another example of the abandonment of core principles.