Learning from the government’s COVID testing debacle

Angry Americans deserve to know why they are not getting the COVID-19 tests they paid for and were promised. When they wait in long lines to get tested or drive from pharmacy to pharmacy in desperate search of a rare home test, they have to use that time to address other health care problems by giving the government even more control. Knowledge should be considered. ,

make no mistake; The test debacle is a government fabrication. It started in early 2020 when Food and Drug Administration officials rejected A request by Washington state researchers to use coronavirus tests developed by them. The FDA insisted that testing could only be done using Centers for Disease Control kits, which proved unreliable because of contamination. The screw-up cost the US five precious weeks, during which the virus spread uncontrollably and uncontrollably.

We have been aware of the need for rapid antigen testing since mid-2020. Rapid testing at home, work and school was seen as the key to getting our lives back to normal and shortening the pandemic by breaking transmission chains and freeing up scarce medical resources.

But it was also clear from the early days of the pandemic that the FDA was not a fan of rapid antigen testing. The agency approved only one such test during the entire 2020. And because the FDA requires a prescription to get an antigen test, people can’t realistically get one unless they’re showing symptoms. Only two other nonprescription at-home rapid antigen tests were approved by the FDA before the fourth quarter of 2021. And they were expensive, about $50 per test.

When Biden came to the administration office it was promised “To aggressively accelerate our COVID-19 response, particularly on vaccines and testing.” Soon Congress passed and the president signed a $1.9 billion COVID-19 relief bill. that law and the previous one devoted some $83 billion Specifically for testing.

However, it is clear that the administration, despite its rhetoric, decided to focus on vaccines while ignoring testing—best exemplified by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s sarcastic reply that we have widespread testing at home. Why not: “Should we send just one to every American?”

It wasn’t until the Omicron version started making a splash in the country that the administration finally decided to pay attention. By the end of 2021, the FDA had come under pressure from an increasingly concerned White House whose vaccine strategy was clearly failing, if only to help lower their cost, to approve rapid at-home tests. For. FDA complied, approve of Nine on top of two already approved and rapid at-home antigen tests for a total of 11. The president finally nominated an FDA chief in November—10 months after taking office amid the pandemic!

LOUISVILEY, KY – JANUARY 10: Vials of packages of test fluids and nasal swabs are seen at a drive through COVID-19 testing site at Churchill Downs on January 10, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced a record-high COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth, with a positivity rate of over 24%. The temporary site has the capacity to provide 3,000 tests per day in response to the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the US, thanks to the Omicron version.
John Cherry / Getty Images

Now playing catch up, President Joe Biden recently announced a series of proposals to address the shortfall. His administration is procuring 500 million rapid tests, which officials claim will be available sometime in January. But the administration only signed its first contract on Friday, so it’s hard to see it meet its January target.

Considering success in this effort, there are other problems. First, by the time the Biden administration has achieved all the tests, the omicron wave may have ended. Second, while 500 million tests sounds like a lot, it’s only a little more than one for every American — a drop in the bucket.

The federal government also announced breathlessly that it would spend $137 million Life science company Millipore to help Sigma produce the nitrocellulose membrane, a key component in rapid antigen tests that will support 85 million additional tests a month. The only problem is that Millipore Sigma must build a facility first, and it won’t be operational until the end of 2024!

We put the government in charge of COVID-19 testing and it failed miserably. Who does anyone think would do a better job than putting the government in charge for other aspects of health care?

Take the drug pricing provisions in the house-passed version of the Build Back Better Act. recently Analysis Economist Tomas Philipson of the University of Chicago found that the plan would lead to 135 fewer new drugs and, most troublingly, “the loss of 331.5 million life years in the US, 31 times as large as the 10.7 million life years lost to COVID-19.” in the US to this day.”

Given all that has gone wrong with government controls of COVID testing, how confident should Americans be that treatments for other maladies will still be developed with drug price controls? When politicians say, “Trust us, those cures will still be there,” should we believe them?

Americans have taken a shot at Build Back Better with the apparent demise of health care provisions. But if the rumors are true, its proposed drug pricing control could return as a stand-alone bill. Americans must be prepared to back down from hard work.

politician reports That health officials now see the Biden administration’s COVID-19 strategy as a “hold on and hope the worst is over soon”. Does this sound like a government ready to deliver health care to Americans every day? If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we would be foolish to give the government more control over our health care.

Dean Clancy is a Senior Health Policy Fellow at American for Prosperity.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.