With America's coronavirus death toll nearing 75,000, federal and state officials are hiding information, including an important study to help local governments safely reopen, even as President Trump vows to wipe out health coverage for millions under Obamacare.
When all of that is put together, it is a sorry -- and terrifying -- state of affairs, indeed.
Despite the continuing increase in Covid 19 cases and the obvious need of those on Obamacare to have their coverage, Trump is doubling down on his determination to kill the signature program of his hated predecessor, Barack Obama.
“We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” Trump said Wednesday, the last day for his administration to change its position in a Supreme Court case brought by Republican governors challenging the law.
“Obamacare, we run it really well," he said. "But running it great, it’s still lousy health care.”
Although Trump has said he will preserve some of the Affordable Care Act’s most popular provisions, including guaranteed coverage for preexisting medical conditions, there is no plan to do so, and his administration’s legal position seeks to end all parts of the law, including such coverage.
So, if Trump and his GOP governor pals succeed in killing off Obamacare, how many coronavirus victims will die? Apparently, Trump could care less. The Affordable Care Act was Obama's crowning achievement. Sending it to the trash bin is all that matters to Trump.
Democrats, although livid at Trump's petty callousness, have been handed a ready-made issue in their effort to defeat Trump, hold their majority in the House of Representatives, and take control of the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said “the President’s insistence on doubling down on his senseless and cruel argument in court to destroy the ACA and every last one of its benefits and protections is unconscionable, particularly in the middle of a pandemic.”
The Supreme Court on Monday said it will review the case, so the issue will remain at the forefront of campaign debate. Polls show that issue was a major factor in 2018 when Democrats won back the House majority.
What is a Life Worth?
Meanwhile, Trump, while pushing for the nation's economy to reopen quickly, acknowledged that it could result in more people dying.
“The people of our country are warriors. I’m not saying anything is perfect. Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country opened and we have to get it open soon," he said.
He made the comment in Arizona, where Republican governor Doug Ducey accelerated plans to reopen businesses as his state health department shut down the work of academic experts who predicted the peak of the state's outbreak was still about two weeks away. Coincidentally, that action came on the eve of Trump's visit to the state. Wouldn't want that bad news to interfere with anything, would we?
However, the real question being asked by many, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, is how many deaths are we willing to accept and what is the acceptable price of a human life?
Speaking on CNN, Dr. Fauci said “How many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be some form of normality sooner rather than later?”
"How much is a human life worth?" Cuomo asked.
The Shelved Report
Meanwhile, the Associated Press is reporting that the Trump administration shelved a document created by the nation's top disease investigators that provides step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen various segments as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen, according to the AP.
Agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. Click here for the AP's article and to view the report.
And then, there is the case of the Health and Human Services (HHS) official, Dr. Rick Bright, who says he was removed from a key coronavirus response job for objecting to "efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections" filed a whistleblower complaint Tuesday charging "an abuse of authority or gross mismanagement" at the agency.
Dr. Bright had been deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response and director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). He revealed "pressure from HHS leadership to ignore scientific merit and expert recommendations and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections and cronyism," according to his formal whistleblower complaint filed with the Office of Special Counsel. He wants his old job back.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), chair of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, said Dr. Bright's complaint "raises serious concerns about the Administration's COVID-19 response including alleged gross mismanagement, waste of funds, abuse of authority, and scientific censorship" and that it "deserves examination." He is expected to testify before the committee May 14.
So, here's the gist
As we all cope with the ravages of the coronavirus, we also are subjected to an inept, secretive government that hides important information, punishes experts who push back, and is willing to trade our lives so others can go to the mall or get a tattoo.
Yes, the economy is in tatters. Yes, people need to work and earn a living. But why hide valuable information that could be helpful? Why cast aside experts who hold the key to survival? And above all, why try to scuttle the very healthcare coverage that is so desperately needed so people can survive?