Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tortious Non-Vaccination

E.V. in WaPo on making the refusal to vaccinate a tortious offense.

I think Prof. Volokh is probably right about the liability frustrations. Defining the class of defendants creates bad incentives. If your property taxes are going to go up because you don't want to vaccinate your kids, one of the margins will be for citizens to go full-bore off-grid, evading birth certificates, dodging primary education, and that sort of thing. I'm not sure that's an improvement.

But it's probably not utterly crazy for insurance firms to pick up some of the coordination problems. They're very practiced at actuarial science, and if you have large firms dedicated to monetizing something, you can bet they'll put some time and treasure towards expanding the scope of their industry.

What does that mean here? Well, if you can sell anti-vaxxer policies, insurance companies will have strong financial incentives in producing brand-new vaccines.

As long as we have non-compliant parents, why not have them pick up some of the cost of advancing medical science for the rest of us?

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?