Krehel: Is medical freedom in Florida the real deal or more smoke and mirrors?

Letter to the editor

As promised by Governor DeSantis, medical freedom is on the 2023 legislative agenda. The tough-on-tyranny governor wants Florida citizens to be protected from the oppressive and discriminatory policies that transpired during the COVID years. Hence the Protection of Medical Freedom Act (SB222/HB305) was put on the table to provide Governor DeSantis with the means to protect all Florida citizens, businesses, and visitors from future mandates and discriminatory practices based on vaccination and immunity status. This is the health freedom legislation that Governor DeSantis said he wanted to sign. As for action, however, it seems something completely different is being served up.

While the history-in-the-making Protection of Medical Freedom Act waits to see the light of day, two other anti-vaccine mandate and anti-discrimination bills (SB238 & SB252) were introduced and are moving quickly through committees (and unanimously passed so far). These purported-to-be medical-freedom bills are “COVID-specific” only, and they lack the protections afforded by the Medical Freedom Act. The real deal (SB222/HB305) adds vaccination and immunity status as a protected class to our existing Civil Rights statute and covers all consumers and providers into the future. COVID mandates are over or ending, so COVID-only protection, at this point, is obsolete. These limited-version bills are not what was promised by Governor DeSantis. He promised to protect Florida citizens from all mandates, not just COVID mandates. 

It appears that yesterday’s leftovers are being served when the order was for the Special of the Day – a true medical freedom bill that protects citizens from the federal government and Big Pharma. After what the world has been through and what we now know, why is the legislature focusing on obsolete “COVID-specific” bills when what is needed is protection from future public health transgressions in any and all circumstances? 

Presidentially-inspired Governor DeSantis has an opportunity to pass landmark medical freedom protections this year. With his trifecta and super majority, the Medical Freedom Act should be moving at warp speed through committees so the Governor can enact and codify this promised and guaranteed protection into perpetuity. However, it seems as if his team is going to punt the guarantee of medical freedom into the future and instead go with the limited version edition that will be effectively useless for all future pandemics.

One might wonder if special interests or nefarious goals are at play in the legislative court if this critical win-win civil rights legislation is being stalled and replaced by very limited and obsolete protections. What is needed for all healthcare consumers and providers is the real deal – not more smoke-and-mirrors bills that are labeled “medical freedom” but provide little, if any, real protection and often exempt from compliance the very individuals and institutions that we need to be protected against.

Toni Krehel, AP, Ponte Vedra Beach

Toni Krehel is a healthcare consumer, provider, and educator.

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • Great article. The political ambition of Gov DeSantis is the only thing standing between us and our God-given right to expose our children to the health risks of contracting measles, mumps, or rubella! Same guy who ordered me not to eat at restaurants in 2020, right? He doesn’t care about our freedom.

    • His program doesn’t prevent you from vaccinating your family, nor does it prevent you from wearing medical masks. You might also remember we were among the first states to back off the Biden mandates and we had better Covid number than the tightly mandated blue states.

      • 1. DeSantis limited what private businesses could do. As someone who owns a business where my guys often go into the homes of clients, under his rules I could not require any of the guys I did send to be vaccinated or if recently ill, to be tested for covid. That’s BS. He also forced cruise lines to not require vaccines for customers to get on ships in tight quarters with others. This no doubt cut customers for this business.

        2. The benefit of masks and vaccines are not only to those wearing them, but to everyone who is not a hermit. It is ridiculous to not understand or deny this fact, and when the next pandemic comes along, there will be more snowflakes who’s precious rights will be deemed more important than America’s.

        3. In 1250 Europe, 1/3 to 1/2 of the population died from bubonic plague. Humans were not yet smart enough to invent vaccines that might have saved most of those dead. In 2021, humans were smart enough to come up with a vaccine that lessened the threat of catching and dying from covid, but unfortunately about 1/3 of Americans were not smart enough to use them. Approximately 300k died needlessly because of this.

  • Do providers still have the right to turn away unjabbed or unmasked patients? Maybe that’s the rub.
    Another rub may be a future need to sterilize repeat offender inmates. Starting tomorrow.

  • Good article. These bills should reinforce our rights going forward, not just for COVID.

  • Conrad nails it. Look children, your “rights” are not the most important issue during a public health crisis, anymore than they are in war, and DeSantis’s reckless politically motivated policies during covid are proven by the quack surgeon general he hired for his political beliefs, not for his experience in medicine – he’s a cardiologist with no experience in epidemiology and has put out “studies” since shot down by real experts at UF and nationally as crap. He is in the same organization as the doctor who claimed “demon sperm” are the cause of much of America’s health problems.

    Putting aside the approx. 300k needless deaths from covid due to misinformation – and most of those deaths were anti-vaxxers led on by the likes of Dr Mengel…. I mean Dr DeSantis – the next time we have a serious public health crisis, our ability to respond quickly will be much worse because of the snowflakes like the author, led on by ambitious politicians like the governor, who values votes above lives, many of which he is responsible for losing.

  • >