Bill Description: House Bill 698 declares that employees required to take the COVID-19 vaccine by their employer may claim compensation for any injuries they sustain from it. This bill is similar to House Bill 464 introduced earlier this session.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the United States Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
H698 creates Section 72-452 of the Idaho Code, to clarify that "when an employer requires an employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in the course of employment or as a condition of hiring or continued employment, any accident or injury caused by such vaccination shall be compensable."
At its core, the idea that an employer should be liable for damage caused by an action the employer mandates is positive. But there are some potential problems with how this proposal would implement that idea.
Mainly, this legislation displaces liability for vaccine injuries from the government to private businesses. While the U.S. Supreme Court used a Jan. 13 ruling to halt a proposed mandate on large employers, it let stand a federal vaccine mandate on employers that receive Medicare/Medicaid dollars. This policy affects large hospitals, private clinics, and long-term care facilities. These health care providers cannot reject Medicare/Medicaid dollars without either denying care to their patients or by providing care without receiving compensation for the treatment they provide. In this case, the liability for any injuries caused by the COVID-19 vaccine should be placed on the federal government, not private businesses. This legislation offers no protection for the undue burden such a mandate would place on these employers.
However, it should be noted that this legislation does provide necessary protection for people employed by companies that voluntarily implement vaccine mandates without government requirements. In truth, any government, institution, or company that mandates vaccination or any other medical procedure should be directly and fully liable for any harm or injury caused by the mandated vaccine or medical procedure.
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