News Release

Trump Administration Coronavirus Response Going from “Incompetent” to “Obstructionist”


The Los Angles Times reports: “Trump administration blocks states from using Medicaid to respond to coronavirus crisis.”

Dr. Kahn is an emeritus professor at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and the Institute for Global Health Sciences in the School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco.

He said today: “The federal government is hampering efforts by state governments, including California, to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 by refusing to declare a national emergency and broaden access to Medicaid funding. This could have disastrous consequences for the health and safety of our residents. Previous administrations facing past medical emergencies such as the H1N1 virus and Hurricane Katrina eased eligibility rules to support efforts to address the medical needs of affected communities. This highlights once again the inadequacy of the fragmented and inefficient U.S. healthcare system which so far has failed to test — much less treat — patients for the virus on a scale necessary to control this pandemic.

“By contrast, a national Medicare for All system would strengthen our ability to respond to pandemics in four major ways. First, every resident would be covered. Second, patients would have no financial barriers to testing and/or treatment. Third, it would unify the coverage ‘patchwork quilt’ that characterizes the U.S. healthcare system, giving all residents seamless, comprehensive and dependable access to care. Fourth, with a single billing system, rapid and standardized data on clinical encounters would be available to public health officials, enabling earlier detection, accelerating treatment and expediting epidemic control.

Kahn adds, “The federal government continues to miss opportunities to provide resources that are essential to reining in the growing crisis, the likes of which have not been seen in a century. This latest refusal to loosen Medicaid restrictions advances the federal coronavirus response from indifferent and incompetent, to callous and obstructionist. Now, more than ever, Americans need the healthcare security that Medicare for All would provide, saving lives and saving dollars.”

Kahn’s work includes “Projected costs of single-payer healthcare financing in the United States: A systematic review of economic analyses” and more than 160 scientific articles on the costs and health effects of disease prevention and treatment interventions in the U.S. and globally.