State Watch

NY paying 15 times going rate to get crucial medical equipment: report

New York is paying inflated rates as high as 15 times the regular price to get crucial medical equipment such as masks, as the state struggles to contain the coronavirus, ProPublica reported Thursday. 

The state with almost 40 percent of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country is paying 20 cents for gloves that typically cost three times less and $7.50 for masks, which is 15 times the regular price, according to an analysis of payment data by ProPublica. 

New York also has paid more than twice the typical cost for infusion pumps. A portable X-ray machine cost the state $248,841, when it should be between $30,000 and $80,000.

States across the country have complained to the federal government about severe shortages of equipment. They say they’ve been forced to compete with other states or countries for precious materials. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has compared the situation to “being on eBay with 50 other states” and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

New York expects to lose $15 billion in costs and lost revenue from the pandemic.

“We know that New York and other states are in the market at the same time, along with the rest of the world, bidding on these same items, which is clearly driving the fluctuation in costs,” budget office spokesman Freeman Klopott said in an email to ProPublica. 

President Trump announced Thursday that he will extend the Defense Production Act to help manufacturers obtain supplies for ventilators. The new usage of the law allows the head of the Department of Health and Human Services to help six companies retrieve supplies to develop ventilators. 

Trump has at times blamed states for the problems they are experiencing, saying they should have previously purchased more equipment. 

Tags Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump medical masks medical supplies Price gouging

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