View a recording of the call here.
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan physicians today blasted Republicans in the state Legislature for refusing to pass a robust pandemic response plan that includes reducing infections, and vaccinating seniors and educators.
“As a physician who cares for COVID-19 patients, I’m extremely disappointed that Republican legislators refuse to give health care professionals the resources we need to protect people, reduce sickness and begin the process of safely returning to normal,” said Dr. Farhan Bhatti, MD, Michigan State Lead for the Committee to Protect Medicare and a family physician practicing in Lansing. “Michigan physicians and Michiganders in general want our policymakers to work with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to eradicate this pandemic and get our economy moving again. What we don’t want are legislators who play partisan games in order to score cheap political points against Gov. Whitmer — even if their actions hurt public health and Michigan’s economic recovery.”
Gov. Whitmer has introduced the COVID-19 Recovery Plan designed to help eradicate the pandemic. The proposal includes using $90 million in federal funds to vaccinate frontline health workers, seniors and teachers and school staff. Whitmer’s proposal sets aside $575 million for testing and tracing, including expanding lab capacity, which can quickly identify outbreaks and reduce disease spread. Additionally, the plan provides $2 billion for schools to reopen safely for in-person learning by March 1. Among other goals, the COVID-19 Recovery Plan aims to help minimize risk and increase safety for schools and businesses to reopen.
“Republican politicians in Michigan have wasted too much time and ignored too much fact-based information for too long, and their delay in passing the COVID-19 Recovery Plan is another act of sabotage that will only put lives at risk and delay the full and safe reopening of our economy,” said Dr. Bhatti.
“When you go to a doctor with a life-threatening condition, you want the best treatment, even if it isn’t the cheapest treatment, to get you back to normal, and the fact is you can’t nickel-and-dime your way out of pandemic,” said Dr. Rob Davidson, MD, CTP executive director and an emergency physician in West Michigan.
Instead of passing the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, Republicans in the Michigan House proposed only $22 million quarterly installments for vaccine distribution and $144 million for COVID-19 testing. The Republicans’ plan also provides only $524 million for Michigan schools. Senate Republicans on Tuesday proposed making only $59 million immediately available for vaccine efforts, even though additional federal funds are available now to get shots in arms.
“Physicians urge Republican legislators who are serious about pandemic relief: Don’t hold any money back, don’t cut corners and don’t play games with people’s lives. What Republicans in Lansing propose isn’t a plan, but a half-measure that will only prolong people’s pain and our economic suffering,” said Dr. Davidson. “People are in pain, they are suffering and they deserve real relief. Physicians want our politicians in Lansing to recognize that the people we see and care for are begging for relief, and we can provide that to them by passing the COVID-19 Recovery Plan without delay.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, February 10, 2021
NOTE: The physicians above are speaking in their capacity as members of the Committee to Protect Medicare. They should be identified only as indicated in this news release.