For those of us inclined to pay close attention to the Trump administration, this aspect in particular stands out: the undoing of all varieties of federal regulation. Environmental, banking, consumer and health regulations have been targeted for extinction or reduction. In the words of former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, â€śOur job is the deconstruction of the administrative state.â€ť
Deconstructing important parts of the â€śadministrative stateâ€ť increases the threats to our health and safety, with loss of life an all-too-common outcome.
Shortly after President Trump was inaugurated, he issued an executive order directing federal agencies to use their administrative powers to begin dismantling the Affordable Care Act â€śto the maximum extent permitted by law.â€ť
Last July, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, proposed a reversal of Obama-era rules that aimed to protect nursing home patients by requiring all nursing home facilities to hire at least one full-time specialist in infection control. Seema Verma, the CMS administrator and a presence at President Trumpâ€™s daily coronavirus briefings, expressed concern about not â€śmicromanaging the process.â€ť
It should come as no surprise to learn that a nursing home lobbying group has contributed to the Trump campaign (New York Times, â€śRegulator Intends to Relax Oversight In Nursing Homes,â€ť March 16, 2020).
The first novel coronavirus hotspot in the United States occurred at the Kirkland Life Care Center for the elderly in Washington State. In neighboring New Jersey, COVID-19 is running through St. Josephâ€™s Senior Home in Woodbridge Township. And, closer to home, Peconic Landing, an elderly community on the North Fork, is experiencing a heartbreaking toll of infected COVID-19 patients.
Is there a direct cause-effect relationship between regulatory rollback and any one positive COVID-19 case? No, but having a full-time infection control specialist knowledgeable about the science of infectious disease and vector control would have established policy and protocol ready to take the most efficacious approach to life-saving measures.
Mr. Anthony is a former Southampton Town Democratic Committee chairman â€” Ed.
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