Maybe not, but as you’ll see, there’s a shortage of rational explanations otherwise — and Joe Biden has only himself to blame for creating that impression. The Biden administration has decided to recalculate the distribution of monoclonal-antibody treatment supplies in order to prioritize equity among the states, rather than the urgency of demand between them. That’s an odd decision for medical supplies in a shortage and public-health crisis anyway.
But is it just a coincidence that the immediate impact of that will be felt by Southern states where the seasonal spike in cases is highest?
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.
Federal health officials plan to allocate specific amounts to each state under the new approach, in an effort to more evenly distribute the 150,000 doses that the government makes available each week.
The approach is likely to cut into shipments to GOP-led states in the Southeast that have made the pricey antibody drug a central part of their pandemic strategy, while simultaneously spurning mask mandates and other restrictions. That threatens to heighten tensions between the Biden administration and governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who have emerged as vocal opponents of the federal Covid-19 response.
Even if this is entirely about equity, it’s a strange call. Monoclonal antibody treatment saves lives, and should be distributed based on need. Most medicines and treatments don’t have to get distributed by the federal government, but for those that do because of shortage conditions, are any distributed on the basis of prioritizing equity over demand?
This smells a bit like retribution for red-state governors not playing along with Biden’s demands for mandates and masks. That aroma arises from Biden himself, who vowed last week to get even with such governors to “get them out of the way.” The timing is suspicious in more ways than one, too:
President Joe Biden has sharply criticized DeSantis and others for resisting efforts to encourage mask wearing and ramp up vaccinations, vowing in a speech last week that if “governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way.”
Still, until recently, the administration had shipped the antibody treatments to states on an as-needed basis — with top health officials in early August going as far as encouraging those battling the Delta surge to seek even more supply.
So until last week, demand and need determined the distribution of monoclonal antibody supplies. Perhaps the shift to equity as the overriding medical principle is a coincidence, but it suuuuuure doesn’t look that way. In fact, it flies in the face of a declaration Biden made a week ago when he was trying to distract everyone from his disgraceful abandonment of Americans in Afghanistan (via Twitchy):
Biden, September 9, 2021:
“Tonight, I’m announcing we will increase the average pace of shipment across the country of free monoclonal antibody treatments by another 50 percent.”
Less than a week later he CUT allocations to southern states by 50%. pic.twitter.com/TCTY7XdboC
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) September 16, 2021
Getting Life-Saving Monoclonal Antibody Treatment to Those Who Need It
The United States government shipped an average of approximately 100,000 doses of monoclonal antibodies per week across July and August. The Administration will increase the average weekly pace of shipments of free monoclonal antibody treatment to states by a further 50% in September, continuing to accelerate the federal government’s efforts to deliver lifesaving COVID-19 treatment. Monoclonal antibody treatments have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization by up to 70% for unvaccinated people at risk of developing severe disease. As hospital systems experience increased COVID-19 cases, many have identified monoclonal antibody treatment as a key tool to improve health outcomes, prevent hospitalizations and reduce the strain on overburdened hospitals.
“To those who need it,” reads the pledge, not “to states on the basis of an obscure equity algorithm.” Biden and the White House want credit for boosting supplies 50%, but … somehow that results in smaller distribution to the states that need it the most? Huh?
Unless Biden was lying last week, this isn’t a response to shortage conditions. Neither is it a rational medical approach to treatment distribution. In fact, there isn’t any rational explanation for this sequence of events other than Biden trying to push governors “out of the way” by hostaging their sickest constituents. So much for compassion, eh?
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