Charlie Baker vents about getting outbid by the Trump administration for medical supplies


As medical provides dwindle, Gov. Charlie Baker says his administration has put in hours on finish attempting to get well being care staff the tools they should deal with the ever-growing variety of COVID-19 sufferers.

However, officers hold operating into a well-recognized impediment: The federal authorities, which has been competing with — and outbidding — states for provides.

And after elevating the problem with President Donald Trump final week, Baker expressed rising frustration throughout a press convention Thursday afternoon in regards to the bind wherein his administration has discovered itself. Trump has urged states to order their very own private protecting tools, or PPE, quite than counting on the federal stockpile. Baker says his administration adopted that recommendation, placing in their very own orders for “millions” of masks and swabs — solely to observe them get scooped away by the federal authorities.

“I stand here as someone who has had confirmed orders for millions of pieces of gear evaporate in front of us, and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is,” the Massachusetts governor mentioned Thursday.

“We now have other orders that are outstanding that are probably ‘confirmed,’ but we’ve literally gotten to the point where our basic position is until the god — until the thing shows up here in the commonwealth of Mass., it doesn’t exist,” the Swampscott Republican continued. “I’m telling you, people are spending hours and hours and hours trying to get this stuff here for exactly that reason. Our first responders, our health care workers, everybody deserves to have that gear. And I’m telling you we’re killing ourselves trying to make it happen.”

As The Washington Post reported this week, the PPE scarcity has pressured states and hospitals to desperately scramble — generally going to inventive lengths — for masks, robes, and ventilators. And whereas some native firms have tried to deal with the shortfall, states have requested the federal authorities for assist, or at the least extra coordination.

Baker referred to as the method an “incredibly messy thicket that’s enormously frustrating for all of us.”

“There are a lot of very compassionate and very brave people here in the commonwealth, who are doing what they can to serve people,” he mentioned, including that “in this particular area, the entire country is struggling to deliver.”

So far, Trump has declined to make use of his authority to direct non-public firms to spice up manufacturing of wanted medical provides. And in keeping with a number of experiences, the federal authorities’s strategic stockpile of medical provides just isn’t geared up to reply to the pandemic. Marylou Sudders, the secretary of Health and Human Services for Massachusetts, mentioned Thursday that solely 17 p.c of the state’s requests from the stockpile have been stuffed.

But for Baker, “one of the biggest challenges” has been that the Trump administration is competing with states for provides within the non-public marketplace for the stockpile. Unable to compete with the buying energy of the federal authorities, it’s an issue not distinctive to Massachusetts, he famous.

“I can’t tell you how frustrated governors, including this one, are about the issue associated with landing the order,” Baker mentioned Thursday. “It’s happened to us. It’s happened to many governors across the country.”

During latest calls with the Trump administration, Baker mentioned “our big message to them is you got to let us land the order.” He added that Federal Emergency Management Agency officers spoke about “creating a more coordinated approach” throughout a telephone name earlier Thursday.

“I think this is going to be critical to our ability as a country, never mind as a commonwealth, to get access to the personal protective equipment that people need to actually do this job and do it well,” Baker mentioned.