DANIEL VAUGHAN: Biden’s fear runs America’s COVID policy

We were in the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States was watching the disease sweep across Europe. Italy was hit extremely hard.

Hospitals in Italy were making life or death decisions over who could get medical treatment; they had ventilator and ICU shortages. When the pandemic finally swept across America, we encountered those shortages too, especially for ventilators.

For all the early failures, one of the first victories for the Trump administration on the pandemic was on that very point: ventilators. After identifying ventilators and other medical supplies as suffering from severe supply shortages in March and April of 2020, the United States miraculously produced so many ventilators that we had a massive surplus for ourselves and started shipping them across the world by the following summer.

American ingenuity met the U.S. government’s checkbook. We also learned how to treat COVID-19 better in hospitals. We went from a shortage to a surplus with the snap of a finger.

That’s the pinnacle of American success and the principle of the Trump administration’s approach to COVID-19: explore every avenue, fund every possible cure, and push the envelope every step of the way. It’s optimism as policy.

I bring that up because the Biden administration is operating in entirely the opposite manner. They work out of fear and call it realism.

Case in point: We learned this past week the Biden administration is now rationing access to COVID-19 treatments. Politico reports:

The Biden administration is imposing new limits on states’ ability to access to Covid-19 antibody treatments amid rising demand from GOP governors who have relied on the drug as a primary weapon against the virus.

Politico adds, “Seven states — Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama — accounted for 70 percent of all orders in early September.” Those states will no longer be able to access what is needed to combat the virus, and instead will suffer shortages because the Biden administration is relying on rationing.

Fortune notes in its own report, “Hospitals and other care providers will no longer be able to directly order monoclonal antibody therapies from distributors, according to a Sept. 13 update posted on the Department of Health and Human Services website.” Who will make the decisions now? Centralized bureaucrats in the federal government, Fortune says:

Instead, the U.S. government will determine what quantity of the drugs to ship to each state and territory based on Covid-19 case numbers and use of the treatments locally. State health departments will then determine how to distribute the antibody therapies to hospitals and other sites, according to the HHS update.

This is not an instance of some new therapy entering the health care system and it needing to be rationed until manufacturing improves. The FDA approved the use of monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 patients in November of 2020, nearly a year ago. A second version got approved in February of 2021.

We’ve had these treatments for as long as we’ve had vaccines. We have agreements in place to increase the supply of these treatments in the United States this year.

Were this the Trump administration, we’d know what the president would do. Trump would find a way to increase our supply by new agreements, new research, or expanded agreements. He could exercise the Defense Production Act to ensure more supplies to these treatments as we vaccinate the population and get treatments out.

But we don’t have the Trump administration. Instead, the Biden administration is making policy out of fear and rationing care now. This is the same party that wants you to believe they want health care for all. And they are rationing health care — specifically, COVID-19 treatments that we know work and save lives. 

The Biden administration is acting as if we’re in the position of Italy in March and April 2020. We’ve proven multiple times over that we can do what it takes to increase the supply of anything if needed. We did this with ventilators, PPE, masks, and vaccines under the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.

Under Biden, his policymakers recoil in fear at every turn. We’ve witnessed the collapse of the vaccination rollout, unprecedented shortages of COVID-19 tests, and now he’s rationing health care treatments.

Thus far, everything the Biden administration has touched with regard to the COVID-19 response plan has died.

We’re more than 18 months into this pandemic, and we know what we’re capable of doing when focused. But the Biden administration cannot even pursue something great, because they fundamentally do not believe in American greatness. Their blindness to American greatness is called hard-eyed realism, but it’s the most blinkered viewpoint of all.

Biden has left Americans in Afghanistan. And now he plans to leave Americans without COVID-19 treatments, right as we’re heading into the fall and winter when we know another surge is coming. This policy isn’t realism; it’s fear and ineptness masquerading as expertise.

America can respond to any challenge in this pandemic. The president does not believe in that American spirit. Dark days are ahead under this form of faux-realism.

We are not Italy; we’re America. However, we will become like Italy because of Biden’s decisions unless some change comes swiftly.