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A Tragedy in Slow Motion

Published on July 2nd, 2020

In Oklahoma, voters passed a measure expanding Medicaid to nearly 200,000 low-income adults after the state’s Republican governor declined to do so. That makes Oklahoma the fifth state to overrule its Republican executive and embrace a key element of the Affordable Care Act.  Most Republicans in Congress now represent states that have accepted the Medicaid expansion.

June saw more than 800,000 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases in the United States to more than 2.6 million.  The administration’s failure to “adequately prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic” and its “delayed and disorganized response” contributed to the pandemic’s deadly impact in nursing homes, according to a Senate report.  The running tally shows that nationwide more than 60,000 residents and staff have died from coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities as well.

The senators also accused the administration of not providing timely, complete and accessible COVID-19 case and death data for nursing homes. And the administration did not implement a national testing strategy and was too late in providing guidance on how to conduct new infection control oversight measures at facilities, the report said.

They issued a series of recommendations, which include providing PPE and testing to nursing home workers, ensuring adequate data collection, and giving workers sufficient pay and benefits. The lawmakers also called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency to improve emergency management and infection control practices in nursing homes.

Urgent action is needed to address the tragedy that continues to unfold in nursing homes,” authors said.

Despite the pandemic spreading, the Trump administration is still trying to undo ObamaCare. Trump submitted a legal argument last week demanding the Supreme Court to throw out the law.  And Fourth of July gatherings have the potential to make a bad situation worse.

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