State Watch

Arkansas governor: ‘I’d like to see a better way’ to procure medical equipment

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Sunday he would like “to see a better way” for states to procure medical equipment as governors continue to bid against each other for necessary supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We have had circumstances that we’re trying to collect our [personal protective equipment], our protective masks and we’ve been outbid by another state after we had the order confirmed, so yes, that has been challenging for us,” Hutchinson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

“And it literally is a global jungle that we’re competing in now,” he added. 

NBC host Chuck Todd asked Hutchinson if he thinks “that’s the way it should be,” with states forced to compete with each other during a crisis. 

“I’d like to see a better way, but that’s the reality in which we are,” Hutchinson responded, adding that his state has put $75 million into procurement. 

“The federal government has made it clear they are the backstop and if we need more ventilators right now, they’re going to be going to the hot spots: New York and California. But I’ve been assured that when we get to the point, if we need ventilators in Arkansas, they’re going to be there. We’re not waiting on that. We’re going out on the marketplace. We’re trying to buy ventilators. You know, whether it should or shouldn’t, that is where we are right now,” Hutchinson added. 

Arkansas is one of a handful of states that have yet to issue a stay-at-home order, but all bars, restaurants and schools have been closed. 

Hutchinson defended his decision not to issue a stay-at-home order, claiming that his state has had “success” comparable to or better than states that issued such orders in terms of “beating and slowing the spread” of the coronavirus. 

“But you have a stay-at-home order, tomorrow 600,000 Arkansans will still go to work. So it’s more important the message that — do your social distancing, don’t gather in groups of more than 10 people and bring a mask with you. I’m going to be following that instruction,” Hutchinson added.

Tags Asa Hutchinson Chuck Todd Coronavirus Sunday talk shows
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