Cuomo’s Covid policy still driven by his hospital donors

What could explain Andrew Cuomo’s bizarre decision to force sick nursing home residents to return to these homes, where they spread the Wuhan coronavirus to residents trapped there? The most plausible explanation I’ve heard is that Cuomo was doing a favor for big hospitals that, given the scope of the pandemic, preferred not to treat these people.

Why do big hospitals a favor? Because they are part of Cuomo’s donor base.

According to the Daily Caller, filings with the state’s Board of Elections show GNYHA Management Corporation, an affiliate of the hospital and nursing home group, donated $1.15 million to the “housekeeping” account of the state’s Democratic Committee in the second half of 2018. Cuomo controls the state’s Democratic Committee. In addition, David Rich, the executive vice president of GNYHA and the man responsible for the group’s legislative advocacy, made a large donation to Cuomo in 2018

Now, it looks like Cuomo has done big hospitals a favor with regard to vaccinating New Yorkers. The Daily Caller reports, via the New York Times, that Cuomo decided not to use vaccination plans developed by the state health department, opting instead for plans favored by big hospitals:

Rather than designate New York City’s 6,000 person Health Department to coordinate regional vaccine efforts, the state opted for the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) to coordinate the efforts. . . .

Who benefits? Not the public, as far as I can tell. The new plans limited eligibility rules that led to fewer doses being administered in the early weeks. And New York City clinics were forced to throw out doses of the vaccine after they were simply unable to find people eligible to receive the vaccine under the state’s strict rules. (Cuomo threatened harsh penalties for anyone who vaccinated an ineligible person.) Only 34 percent of the vaccines that had been distributed in the city were actually used, says the Daily Caller.

Nine top-level New York health officials have resigned in recent months due to frustration with Cuomo related mianly to the state’s vaccine rollout.

Cuomo is unfazed. He says he no longer trusts experts.

The grandstanding governor flamboyantly declared:

When I say ‘experts’ in air quotes, it sounds like I’m saying I don’t really trust the experts. Because I don’t. Because I don’t.

Since when? Since they started giving advice that runs counter to the interests of his big money donors.

Experts certainly aren’t infallible. But they deserve more trust than does a politician who shapes policy to conform to the interests of large donors.

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