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Geneva health chief calls for unvaccinated patients to pay for hospital treatment

Geneva health chief calls for unvaccinated patients to pay for hospital treatment
Jura Hospital is using punitive measures against the unvaccinated. Photo by Hôpital du Jura
All medical care, including hospitalisations, are covered by the compulsory insurance. But at least one Swiss canton wants to change that.

Geneva’s health director Mauro Poggia said that those who refuse the vaccine and get infected with coronavirus should pay at least part of the costs of their hospitalisation.

As 90 percent of Covid-19 patients admitted to Geneva’s hospitals are not vaccinated, they should be responsible for their choice not to get immunised and participate in the costs incurred for their care, Poggia said.

“People who got vaccinated don’t want to bear the consequences of the choices others make. Neither does our economy”, he added.

Poggia made his remarks in an interview on local television on August 20th, after the number of coronavirus patients in Geneva’s University Hospitals (HUG) went up sharply from fewer than 10 people in mid-July to 52 the week of August 13th.

READ MORE: Swiss hospitals: Sharp increase in the number of Covid patients in intensive care

Can this measure be implemented in Geneva and other Swiss cantons?

This proposal was already floated around in July, when MP Kurt Flury said such a drastic measure could finally convince holdouts to get their shots.

However, so far, there is no indication that this could be enforced in Switzerland anytime soon.

READ MORE: Will unvaccinated people have to pay their own hospital costs in Switzerland?

That’s because people who pay their insurance premiums can’t be denied medical care, especially as Covid vaccines are not obligatory in Switzerland — just as someone can’t be made to pay for being hospitalised with the flu if they don’t get the flu shot.

However, at least one canton is  implementing a “punitive measure” for the unvaccinated: employees of the Jura Hospital who have not had their shots but must quarantine after being in contact with positive cases, will have their wages reduced by 80 percent during that time.


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