As Trump Administration “Wasted” Time, Perdue and Loeffler Continued to Praise Botched Coronavirus Response

April 6, 2020

While Georgia Republicans praised the White House, new reports show administration “wasted” time and is now blocking health care exchanges from reopening

ATLANTA — New reporting reveals that even as Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were busy praising the White House in a desperate effort to score political points with President Donald Trump, the administration “wasted” months that could have been used to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) while Trump himself refused to reopen health care exchanges as thousands of Georgians continue to lose their jobs and health care coverage.

The Trump administration’s response to this public health crisis has already seen Georgia health care providers “scrambling” and the state only receiving “one-quarter of the requested N95 masks and just over a third of requested ventilators.” Some providers are worried they “can’t keep the doors open” with shortages of supplies and other resources. Yet despite these dire circumstances, the AP reported that the White House “squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies.”

Meanwhile, Perdue and Loeffler were apparently too busy with stock trades and praising the president to focus on the growing crisis facing Georgia health care providers as Governor* Brian Kemp claims he’s still learning basic information about the virus months after the fact. Even worse: Georgia Republicans are still united behind a reckless lawsuit to “terminate” the health care law and threaten coverage for millions of Americans as Trump refuses to reopen health care exchanges in what a member of his own administration calls “a bad decision.”

Read the latest on the Trump administration’s disastrous response to the coronavirus outbreak:

AP: US ‘wasted’ months before preparing for coronavirus pandemic

  • After the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment.
  • A review of federal purchasing contracts by The Associated Press shows federal agencies largely waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers.
  • By that time, hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile.
  • Now, three months into the crisis, that stockpile is nearly drained just as the numbers of patients needing critical care is surging. Some state and local officials report receiving broken ventilators and decade-old dry-rotted masks.
  • “We basically wasted two months,” Kathleen Sebelius, health and human services secretary during the Obama administration, told the AP.
  • As early as mid-January, U.S. officials could see that hospitals in China’s Hubei province were overwhelmed with infected patients, with many left dependent on ventilator machines to breathe. Italy soon followed, with hospitals scrambling for doctors, beds and equipment.
  • Trump and his appointees have urged state and local governments, and hospitals, to buy their own masks and breathing machines, saying requests to the dwindling national stockpile should be a last resort.
  • Experts in emergency preparedness and response have expressed dismay at such statements, saying the federal government must take the lead in ensuring medical supplies are available and distributed where they are needed most.

POLITICO: How Trump surprised his own team by ruling out Obamacare

  • The White House…rejected the prospect of allowing new sign-ups across the 38 Affordable Care Act marketplaces it controls — a decision that shocked the health care industry, triggered widespread criticism and prompted a scramble within the administration to find a new way to care for the growing population left exposed to the pandemic.
  • “You have a perfectly good answer in front of you, and instead you’re going to make another one up,” said one Republican close to the administration. “It’s purely ideological.”
  • That declaration surprised even some officials in the Health and Human Services Department, who believed the concept was still under consideration…it worried officials who viewed the verdict as an unforced error in the middle of a historic pandemic.
  • “It’s a bad decision opticswise,” one administration official said in the immediate aftermath. “It politicizes people’s access to health services during a serious national health emergency.”
  • If Trump had chosen instead to reopen the website — as 11 largely blue states that control their own markets have already done — people without insurance could buy more comprehensive policies that not only would cover coronavirus treatments but any follow-up treatment, mental-health care, and future check-ups.


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