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bar-150x150Taxpayers have put billions of dollars into long-term care rescue. Congress and the White House have deadlocked over further assistance, with a key stumbling block — as expressed by the foot-dragging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — focused on demands for greater protections for health care workers and enterprises, as well as business in general, from legal accountability for their work during the pandemic.

This is sham reasoning to stall desperately needed aid, for example, for schools and the jobless.

Small businesses, including the mom-and-pop long-term care facilities, put a demonstrably low priority on needing protection from liability lawsuits, according to a new study by Emily Gottlieb and Joanne Doroshow at the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School. The researchers based their findings of multiple surveys of small business operators, with many of those questions posed by business groups themselves.

cnndocsconditionreport-300x148Falsehoods, even when loudly repeated, do not magically become true. The Covid-19 pandemic rages across the United States, and the facts do not support in any way the myth that the nation is “rounding a corner” in seeing the disease diminish its destructive course or magically disappearing.

The toll of the coronavirus is ripping toward 210,000 deaths and more than 7.3 million infections, with those figures likely understated.

As the Washington Post reported of its data analysis:

burningcash-300x200Taxpayers and lawmakers have ensured that the federal Health and Human Services agency operates with roughly $2 trillion in discretionary and mandatory funding. This means the agency can employ about 80,000 staffers, many of them top experts in medical science, health care policy, and public health.

This concentration of expertise and experience, however, may mean less than ever.

That’s because just one man, and his hand-picked few, insist that they hold the absolute power to make life and death decisions for more than 330 million Americans, especially when it comes to health care and government spending on it.

wyden-150x150https://www.protectpatientsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/69/2020/09/Bob_Casey_Jr._official_photo-150x150.jpgThe White House and Senate Republicans have failed to protect more than 1.3 million Americans in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, with persistent inaction contributing to the rising toll of Covid-19 deaths and infections among the institutionalized — months after the crisis in long-term care exploded into the public consciousness.

Those are the new findings of Bob Casey and Ron Wyden, two ranking Democratic U.S. senators serving on the Aging and Finance committees, respectively. They issued their harsh criticisms and a minority staff report they requested and based on information from the Trump Administration. The Washington Post quoted Casey:

“This report lays bare the devastating cost that American families have paid as a result of the Trump administration’s incompetency and Republican inaction. The crisis in our nursing homes, which residents and workers and their families are experiencing every day, demands immediate action.”

redfield
As the November elections draw near, let’s not lose sight of the flurry of developments in response to the politicization of the pandemic and the assaults by the Trump administration on medical science. Among them:

cdcinoculate-300x240The “warp speed” race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine has gotten hit with a yellow flag.

It could be a good thing that the product’s makers — Oxford University and AstraZeneca — followed medical-scientific protocols and paused their Phase III clinical trial due to a participant’s unexplained illness.

Officially, the company offered spare information about the occurrence, especially because it affects the private medical information of a single individual.

bobwbook-209x300Some fictional scenarios to contemplate:

  • What would happen to a military leader who was briefed and admitted to knowing of severe threats but downplayed them, resulting over a few months to the United States seeing its Indo-Pacific and European Commands wiped out — combined losses of roughly 180,000 in U.S. forces?
  • How would the governor of Maryland be treated if he was told of a public works problem but belittled it and in less than a year the cities of Columbia, Bethesda, and Annapolis and all the people in them were destroyed?

cagovlogo-300x106Although President Trump has made California a favored object of scorn, the Golden State has put itself on a path to help patients better rein in Big Pharma price gouging on prescription drugs in a way that Washington hasn’t. California lawmakers have given the green light for the state to leap into making generic drugs, notably  affordable insulin to assist diabetics.

The state legislative season ended with a bill, advancing to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature by Sept. 30. The bill orders California’s top health agencies by January to partner with existing makers to develop and produce generics and biosimilars. As the Los Angeles Times reported of the California pharmaceuticals plan detailed in SB-852:

“Under the measure, state-developed generics would be ‘widely’ available to public and private purchasers within California. Taxpayers would pick up the costs — roughly $1 million to $2 million in startup funding, plus ongoing staff costs estimated in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, according to a state fiscal analysis. It’s unclear which drugs the state would make or procure, though it would target drugs that could produce the biggest cost savings for the state and consumers.

atlas-218x300The Trump Administration — yet again — has sowed confusion, frustration, and anger over the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic, creating potentially harmful credibility issues for a prospective coronavirus vaccine, the scientific concept of “herd immunity,” a possible blood-based treatment for the illness, as well as testing, contact tracing, and quarantines for the disease.

The White House follies would be considered bad farce, save for the reality that the U.S. death toll races toward 200,000 and infections have skyrocketed past 6 million. The U.S. has 22 percent of the world’s Covid death toll, but only 4 percent of the world’s population.

With schools reopening, infections, hospitalizations, and deaths among children are on the rise.

marylandlogo-300x177It turns out there is more to be said about Maryland’s recently completed, pandemic-related checks on hundreds of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Three facilities, indeed, got expensive rebukes from state inspectors, but dozens more were hit with milder fines that also suggest widespread issues in the institutions, notably with the crucial concern of infection control.

In contrast to the Washington Post’s previous coverage of the sizable fines for Collingswood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center ($275,000) and Potomac Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center ($120,000), and Kensington Healthcare Center ($294,000), the Baltimore Sun said it, too, had obtained Maryland records indicating:

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