On January 19 it was introduced that Joe Biden deliberate to appoint Rachel Levine, the Pennsylvania (PA) secretary of well being, for the place of assistant secretary of well being within the Division of Well being and Human Providers. That is doubtlessly excellent news for Pennsylvanians, who will lastly be rid of her after having needed to endure her disastrous covid lockdowns and restrictions for practically a yr, however is probably going dangerous information for the remainder of the nation.
Information protection of Levine’s nomination is targeted virtually totally on the truth that if she is confirmed she would be the first transgender official to be confirmed by the Senate and barely mentions or utterly glosses over her dealing with of the pandemic in PA. NPR doesn’t mention her observe file in any respect apart from noting that she, unsurprisingly, referred to as for extra federal funding to take care of the virus. The Morning Name at the least reported that Levine has confronted criticism over her dealing with of the virus response however failed to say that underneath Levine PA nursing properties have been compelled to just accept covid-positive sufferers.
After the announcement of her forthcoming nomination, Republicans started to assault Levine on social media, particularly regarding her nursing dwelling coverage. In response, Newsweek published a laughable excuse of a “truth test,” asserting, “There isn’t a proof to assist Greene’s [a Republican representative from Georgia] declare that Levine positioned coronavirus-positive sufferers in nursing dwelling services, thus seemingly contributing ‘to the 1000’s of aged deaths in Pennsylvania.’”
Nevertheless, the creator, Julia Marnin, appears to have did not adequately analysis PA Division of Well being tips. She cites a guideline issued in March of 2020 that states that nursing properties “should proceed to just accept new admissions and obtain readmissions for present residents who’ve been discharged from the hospital who’re steady,” and that “This may occasionally embrace steady sufferers who’ve had the COVID-19 virus.” Marnin then argues that this language didn’t imply that nursing properties needed to settle for optimistic sufferers however that “they will” and that there isn’t any proof that Levine’s coverage “positioned coronavirus-positive sufferers in nursing properties or contributed to 1000’s of aged deaths within the state.”
This absurd declare utterly falls aside, since later Pennsylvania Well being Division tips make it explicitly clear that nursing properties should readmit covid-positive sufferers and proceed to just accept new ones even when they’re covid optimistic, as properly. Guidance issued on Could 12, 2020, states that “A optimistic take a look at end result just isn’t a motive to refuse readmission to a resident” and that “An NCF [nursing care facility] should proceed to take new admissions, if applicable beds can be found, and a suspected or confirmed optimistic for COVID-19 just isn’t a motive to disclaim admission.”
Till the late fall/early winter surge in instances and deaths, roughly 70 p.c of all covid fatalities in Pennsylvania have been amongst nursing dwelling and long-term care facility sufferers. For the reason that newest surge, that quantity has dropped to roughly 50 percent. But, even with the most recent drop, it’s clear that the state authorities’s nursing dwelling coverage has been a catastrophe, and the media does an excellent disservice to the nation by sweeping a dialogue of that file underneath the rug.
Maybe much more disturbing than forcing nursing properties to just accept covid-positive sufferers is Levine’s coverage aim of social justice–primarily based rationing of covid remedies that was launched by the PA Division of Well being underneath Levine’s management.
As I’ve written about beforehand, this guidance, entitled “Moral Allocation Framework for Rising Remedies of COVID-19,” states that “a core aim of public well being is to redress inequities that make well being and security much less accessible to deprived teams—we present equal respect for all members of society by mitigating the structural inequities that trigger sure communities to bear the best burden through the pandemic.” In different phrases, in accordance with Levine’s division of well being, public well being isn’t nearly medical well being points, it’s about utilizing the response to medical well being points to engineer society to advertise “social justice.”
On this scheme, the state recommends that healthcare suppliers use a weighted lottery system to ration care and encourages hospitals to weigh a affected person’s entry primarily based on his or her socioeconomic standing as decided by outdated knowledge aggregated from census blocks. You’ll assume that selling “equality” would imply that whether or not you obtain life-saving medical therapy wouldn’t rely on the place you reside, however some sufferers are apparently extra equal than others.
The truth that somebody who apparently subscribes to such a radical egalitarian agenda is more likely to quickly be some of the highly effective healthcare bureaucrats within the nation doesn’t bode properly, as requires the federal authorities to nationalize healthcare proceed unabated. Levine’s radicalism, mixed with the incompetence she displayed by forcing nursing properties to just accept covid-positive sufferers and different heavy-handed lockdown measures, will hopefully at the least result in a critical evaluation of her file throughout her Senate affirmation listening to. However don’t maintain your breath.