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Not only does the Trump administration lack a comprehensive plan to tackle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but it has spent much of the past week working to undermine one of the country’s most trusted scientists, the Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. . Journalists have received “opposition research” noting times when Fauci was said to have misdirected the course of the pandemic, and Peter Navarro, business advisor to President Donald Trump, published an op-ed in USA Today personally attacking Fauci.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court may not hear the case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act before the November election, although its existence is likely to serve as fodder for Democrats from top to bottom of the poll.
And lower courts have been active on the reproductive health front since the High Court refused to fully exercise its anti-abortion majority. Federal judges in Tennessee and Georgia have blocked abortion bans, while another from Maryland blocked an administrative rule requiring insurance companies that sell plans on the Affordable Care Act stock exchanges send clients a separate bill for abortion coverage if offered.
This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of ApniPSP Coronavirus Updates, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Paige Winfield Cunningham of the Washington Post and Erin Mershon of Stat News.
Some of the takeaways from this week’s podcast:
- Despite optimistic statements by federal officials that testing efforts in the country are progressing well, many states are still reporting problems getting the supplies they need, and delays in obtaining test results make the search for contacts almost impossible.
- Testing issues create major obstacles to opening schools on time, as testing and contact tracing have been prerequisites for safely opening schools.
- Researchers complain that the Trump administration’s decision to ask hospitals to report their coronavirus data to the HHS, instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, could make it difficult for them to study aspects of the outbreak.
- Groups opposing abortion see Chief Justice John Roberts’ efforts to moderate decisions this year as a signal that he may not be receptive to their arguments for overturning Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion nationally. The chance to get another Tory on court to replace one of the current Liberals could galvanize more support for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
- On the abortion issue, House Democrats surprised some people by retaining the Hyde Amendment – which bans federal spending on abortions in almost all cases – in the HHS Appropriations Bill. It was likely an effort to protect vulnerable Democrats in conservative districts.
Plus, for added credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week that they think you should read too:
Julie Rovner: The New Yorker “How Trump is helping the Tycoons exploit the pandemic, “By Jane Mayer
Alice Miranda Ollstein: The New York Times magazine “Why we are losing the battle with Covid-19, “By Jeneen Interlandi
Erin Mershon: The New York Times’ “Bottleneck for coronavirus response in the United States: the fax machine, ”By Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz
Paige Winfield Cunningham: Politico’s “Inspector General: Medicare chief broke rules on his advertising contracts», By Dan Diamond and Adam Cancryn
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Kaiser Health news (KHN) is a national information service on health policy. This is an independent editorial program from Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
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