Biden could be ready to play hardball with anti-vaxxers: report

The Washington Post reported Thursday evening that President Joe Biden is thinking of playing hardball with anti-vaxxers continuing to spread COVID-19 throughout the United States.

The administration is looking at how to use the White House's regulatory power to force safety requirements. While there are legitimate reasons that some patients' doctors don't want them to get the vaccine yet or some religious faiths have a long-time, documented anti-medicine approach, most anti-vaxxers are denying the shot on conspiracy grounds.

In the past, Biden has used incentives to encourage the vaccine. He's worked with private sector employers and states that have offered million-dollar lotteries, prizes and scholarships to spur vaccinations. The new delta-variant has been another thing currently encouraging people to get the vaccine as there has been a 39 percent increase in deaths since the variant. Of those who have died, 99 percent are anti-vaccine people.

Biden's "effort could apply to institutions as varied as long-term-care facilities, cruise ships and universities, potentially impacting millions of Americans, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations," said the report. "The conversations are in the early phases and no firm decisions have been made, the people said."

Red states have already moved to try and block the use of masks and vaccine passports, causing further problems among businesses that want to protect customers and employees. The mask ban in Arkansas, for example, will likely lead to the state closing schools again, said one state senator this week.

"There is a particular focus in the discussions on whether restrictions on Medicare dollars or other federal funds could be used to persuade nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities to require employees to be vaccinated, according to one of the people familiar with the talks," said the report.

It would be a drastic step that isn't typically Biden's leadership style, but a lighter piece of the proposal could be part of the next steps.

Read the full report from the Washington Post.