Few people are talking about the elephant in the room, which is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sexual assault charges and the controversy surrounding his administration’s concealment of the shockingly high number of nursing home and group home deaths. The real scandal isn’t that Cuomo is a creep; everybody already knew that. Cuomo’s deception regarding nursing home deaths isn’t even the scandal.
The true scandal is what caused the high number of nursing home deaths in New York and a few other states headed by leftist governors like Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tim Walz of Minnesota, and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. It’s the story of how Grandpa and Grandma were discarded for the sake of money.
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The high number of nursing home deaths was due to policies that rapidly discharged elderly or disabled COVID-19 patients from hospitals when they were still COVID-positive, and placed them in group or nursing homes. This strategy was specifically engineered by the hospital lobby, and these governors complied.
The stated justification for the policy was to avoid overcrowding in hospitals, but some states held the policy in place even after COVID hospitalizations peaked in April. Even though the health-care system in states like Minnesota never experienced the pressure that had been predicted, the policy remained in place.
What you don’t hear is that hospitals didn’t want to keep Medicare and Medicaid patients in hospitals for too long, particularly Medicaid patients, since longer stays for these patients are less lucrative.
COVID-positive patients were allowed or encouraged to be admitted to nursing homes in New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. COVID-positive patients infected the majority of the residents, and community and nursing homes became hotspots for COVID-19 cases and deaths. Leftists tend to dismiss this logic, but a study found a connection between COVID-19 cases and patients discharged from hospitals.
On March 25, when the pandemic was at its peak, Cuomo’s New York State Health Department “compelled nursing homes to admit patients who had tested positive for coronavirus.” The Greater New York Hospital Organization, a non-profit hospital association, advocated for the policy (GNYHA). Owing to budget constraints in New York, Medicaid funding was recently slashed, and considering that Medicaid is still chronically underfunded, it’s conceivable that hospitals were losing money or only breaking even on disadvantaged and indigent COVID-19 patients.
Cuomo’s aides later inserted a provision into an annual budget bill that created the most generous and clear COVID litigation protections for health care and industry in the country.
According to one report, COVID-19 deaths were 7.5 times higher in states where corporations have legal immunity.
“One of the most powerful powers in New York politics,” according to the GNYHA. Cuomo got $1 million from GNYHA for his reelection campaign, and the contribution was kept hidden until after he was sworn in. Cuomo’s campaign and state party committee raised more than $2.3 million from hospital donors during his second term.
As a result, the allegations of sexual harassment leveled against Cuomo are particularly intriguing. This conduct is certainly deserving of inquiry and condemnation. However, it is possible to note that it conceals the real story: swampy far-left Democrat governors who are enslaved by the all-powerful health-care lobby.
It’s terrible when influential men bully women. Falsification or concealment of knowledge about a deadly infectious disease, as well as government wrongdoing, are also prohibited. But using political and legal power to cause the agonizing deaths of a vast number of elderly and other needy people confined to nursing homes, and doing so as a cynical favor to monied corporate donors, is much, far worse.
The first charge has gotten a lot of attention in the media. It’s possible that it provides some coverage for the second. However, it is diverting focus away from the third and most serious issue. That leaves us with four points to consider.
To begin with, the country’s high-profile leftist governors prioritize hospital benefit over the most needy. Despite all of progressivism’s platitudes, it was ultimately all about the money. This is blatant quid pro quo corruption: you fund my campaign, and I offload your non-paying sick patients.
Second, telling the American people this story is simple: “Hospitals don’t make money on sick and elderly COVID-19 patients, so they lobbied Democrat governors to get these patients returned to nursing and group homes too quickly, resulting in nursing and group homes becoming COVID-19 death hotspots.”
But why isn’t this story told by the Republican Party? Perhaps Republicans aren’t talking about this because they, too, are beholden to big health care (although Democrats are certainly more entangled than Republicans).
Third, the media’s emphasis on abuse shifts the conversation away from Cuomo’s egregious corruption (although it does do that). It also promotes leftist ideas of how men and women can interact.
This should be a tale about famous leftists’ heartlessness and hypocrisy, as well as the corporate interests that fund them. Instead, it’s turned into a tale that follows a typical leftist plot. You thought you were paying attention, but you were caught off guard by the sleight-of-hand.
The final takeaway is that this article reveals a great deal about our health-care system’s overall shortcomings, which no party is willing to fix. That could be the subject of a separate post, if not a book, but suffice it to say that this is yet another topic in which our political debate fails to get to the heart of the matter and address real issues that the American people face.
Both corrupt and risky is the Democratic Party. The Republican Party is now too enslaved by corporate interests to effectively represent the American people.
A new Republican agenda is needed, one that breaks the bonds of corporatism and builds on the best aspects of Trumpism.
The argument for Republican revival is rising, which began but does not end with Donald Trump’s presidency. That comes down to good rhetoric backed up by good policy that deviates from the GOP’s tried-and-true “remedies” that appeal to corporate donors rather than the party’s electorate.