Kentucky governor says it's 'very hard' to compete with federal government for medical equipment


Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said over the weekend that it has been “very hard” for his state to secure medical equipment needed to combat the COVID-19 outbreak when it has to deal with competition from the federal government.

At a press conference on Saturday, Beshear said the “biggest problem” the state has been facing as it tries to secure more medical equipment amid the pandemic is that for “just about every single order that we have out there for PPE (personal protective equipment), we get a call right when it’s supposed to be shipped and it’s typically the federal government has bought it.”

“It’s very hard to buy things when the federal government is there and anytime they want to buy it, they get it first,” he continued, according to WKMS.


His remarks followed similar comments he made in late March, when he said when the state was preparing to purchase some of the much-needed supplies at one point, "FEMA came out and bought it all out from under us,” The Courier-Journal reported then.

"It is a challenge that the federal government says, 'States, you need to go and find your supply chain,' and then the federal government ends up buying from that supply chain," he also said at the time, adding: "I'm going to do what it takes. We're running down every lead, every buyer, from every direction to make sure that we can get what we need."

During his press conference on Saturday, Beshear also said the state has also had trouble securing ventilators during the pandemic and said the state has been in talks with companies that operate locally to try and manufacture PPE amid a national shortage.

“Trying to buy PPE — that’s a challenge. We are trying to manufacture it. If you can help with any of these, we want you to be a part and call us,” Beshear said. 

His comments come as the Trump administration has gotten heat from multiple governors complaining about having to compete against other states and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for critical medical supplies during the pandemic.


“You now literally will have a company call you up and say, ‘Well, California just outbid you,’”  New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns Sanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' New York attorney general expanding Cuomo investigation: report MORE regarding the matter late last month. “It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator.” 

However, President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE has been urging governors to secure their own supplies, saying last month: “They can get them faster by getting them on their own.”

"In other words, go through a supply chain that they may have because the governors, during normal times, the governors buy a lot of things, not necessarily through the federal government,” he continued in remarks to reporters then.

He has also called on states that have more ventilators to share with others amid the outbreak, saying recently: “If states have ventilators they know they’re not going to need, we should move them over," according to The Washington Post.