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Nancy Pelosi Says House Will Pass Coronavirus Bill with Free Testing for All (newsweek.com)
185 points by smacktoward 17 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 237 comments



>It also seeks to give workers new protections, including paid emergency leave, with both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave, as well as enhanced unemployment insurance, which will extend protections to furloughed workers.

>In addition to supporting workers, the "Families First" bill would also seek to strengthen food security initiatives, including SNAP, food bank services, student meals and senior nutrition programs, while also increasing federal funds for Medicaid, as states across the country face increased costs.

By packing so much social assistance into the bill, the House is going to create serious problems with getting it through the Senate. The goal of mass testing would be better served if the controversial issues were separated from the immediate one.


By controversial issues we apparently mean "providing food and a safety net for people who lose their jobs" (most of whom will lose their jobs due to the crisis brought about by the pandemic).

I feel there is something very wrong with us that this is immediately seen as "OMG Super partisan crazy talk!!!"


It's not that your parent poster necessarily believes a basic social safety net is super partisan, but seems to be speaking from a point of reality. McConnell has been called the grim reaper and is proud of how many House bills he has stopped.


The Grim Reaper act only works when there's no risk of voters paying attention. Senators have to win reelection. Their positions can be shifted if enough of their constituents demand it.

Call your Senators and ask them if they will be supporting passage of a Senate version of this legislation.

If they won't, ask why. And let them know that their answer will affect your vote.


Other coverage of this bill suggests McConnell is OK with passing something he sees as imperfect, given cover from Trump.

> Should the White House and House Democrats come to terms, Mr. McConnell has indicated privately that he would quickly bring up the measure and pass it to allow Mr. Trump to sign it into law.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/us/politics/trump-house-c...

It’s hard to imagine he would incentivize Pelosi to pass an aid bill just so he can block it, what is the political upside for him if he does that?

Similarly, the fact that Pelosi is even trying to work with Trump, Mnuchin, etc suggests she believes passage is possible. If she’s just doing this to make the senate republicans look bad when they reject it, then it’d be much easier to pass something with little to no input from Republicans.


> It's hard to imagine he would incentivize Pelosi to pass an aid bill just so he can block it, what is the political upside for him if he does that?

If it looks like it doesn't have a chance of passing anyway, it provides an opportunity to publicly rebuke the other party. He pushed through AoC's Green New Deal with a smirk [1].

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/aocs-green-new-deal-dies-in-...


Politics is complicated and every situation is not the same. This is the biggest issue in the world right now and voters are watching C19 coverage.

There’s a famous saying in politics that every crisis is an opportunity. The United States has already fallen well behind everyone else and what we’re doing, there could be political problems to resisting this too much too publicly. Also, and saying this in a completely neutral fashion, the US president is a wildcard. If he supports this, R senators fearing reelection will support it as well


Commits should be atomic.


Politics doesn't work that way. Bills are batched political transactions


Think that only works in Nebraska.


I agree.


The Federal government's duty to the people (according to the Constitution) is seeing to their safety from foreign threats. Testing for all is in line with that duty. Being a social safety net is the duty of your family, your church, and your friends. Maybe even your state government.

I know there are Socialist policies that are in place at the Federal level, but the intent of the framers was to guarantee freedoms for citizens. A social welfare state was not anywhere in the picture.

Bottom line, personal responsibility goes a long, long way in terms of dealing with job loss and economic downturns.


> WE the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...

The Constitution itself states the role of the Federal government is to prevent mass turmoil and to help the general public. In fact, it lists both of those objectives before it mentions the securing freedoms and liberty; it is generally believed that the preamble is ordered in terms of the priority of its objectives. I understand that there is a very real argument that the Federal government should not be responsible for the well-being of every single citizen but a safety net in times of pandemic is, in my opinion, nowhere close to a Constitutional overreach based on how these objectives have been interpreted.


> a safety net in times of pandemic is, in my opinion, nowhere close to a Constitutional overreach based on how these objectives have been interpreted.

Fair.

The provisions in the bill are not impermanent, though. If they had a time limit on them, they would be reasonable.

[Edit for spelling]


Novel coronaviruses and high-lethality flu strains aren't going to stop appearing, and if anything are going to become increasingly common as the world population increases and becomes ever more interconnected. Putting a time limit on the social safety nets needed to deal with them means you have to rebuild the entire structure again every time it happens, and the only benefit is cutting costs by a few billion dollars a year in between outbreaks (less, when you consider training and turnover costs from creating an entire program from scratch and then destroying it every time). The US takes in upwards of $3 trillion in taxes: we can easily afford it, just shut down a military base or two somewhere.


> Novel coronaviruses and high-lethality flu strains aren't going to stop appearing, and if anything are going to become increasingly common

You aren't wrong. South Korea has prior experience in this arena and they've done really well by learning from their prior contagions.

I think there is a lot the Fed could do to enable state CDCs to handle outbreaks in the future. Part of all of this is the logistical half: materials for testing (which I understand is one of the major slowdowns this time around), distribution of knowledge, etc.

There's a lot of ground to cover even at a municipal level. The Fed has the ability to collect information and act as a hub of best practices. I think that will be critical for saving lives this time around and next.

[edit for missing words]


> intent of the framers

The Framers were not omniscient, and the Constitution isn't a religious text. They allowed slavery, forbid women to vote, and held an 18th-century understanding of economics and science. While their design philosophy for our government is good to consider, we are not beholden to them to implement as they would have wished.

The most successful nations today - in terms of population health, happiness, and well-being - are Western European countries with strong social safety nets.


> The Framers were not omniscient, and the Constitution isn't a religious text.

Sure, but this is the text we have. If you don’t like what it creates, change it, there is a procedure to add amendments or change the whole thing altogether. Of course, the difficulty then is that quite a lot of people in fact like what we have and want to keep it this way.


And there is nothing in that text that prohibits establishing a real social safety net with protections for workers. “Just amend it if you don’t like it” is a straw man in this context.


Well, not anymore, now that Supreme Courts decided that the federal government can do whatever it wants. Originally though, the authors of the constitution, and the convention, had a very clear idea and very clear limits on what federal government can do, in fact enumerating those things. Social safety net is not one the enumerated list of things government can do, and the constitution would never have passed in the first place if the convention members had thought it is.

What happened however was that the Supreme Court decided that the enumerated clauses are irrelevant, and that government can do whatever it wants, just saying magic words of "general welfare" and "interstate commerce". That's why there's no interest in passing amendments anymore: why bother when you can just get Supreme Court to stamp whatever you want?

I'm not against having federal social safety net, but I'd prefer it to be passed the way founders intended, and how things used to be done before the Progressive era in Supreme Court: by expanding the enumerated list of things government can do, through constitutional amendment. What I don't like is having it passed through the Supreme Court backdoor, by interpreting the constitution literally opposite to what it was intended and commonly understood to mean when it was written.


Again, there is nothing prohibiting the establishment of a social safety net in the constitution. What you have said here is just building another strawman next to the first one.


There is nothing allowing it either, and the clear intent of the writers was to not allow the government to do anything that was not explicitly enumerated on the list of things it is allowed to do. This is laid out clearly in last few sections of Federalist 41.


[flagged]


Then, as I said in my original comment, pass a new one. You might have to convince others to agree, but don’t forget that we live in a society, and you’re not the only one who gets to have a say.



>This is laid out clearly in last few sections of Federalist 41.

It doesn't matter what the Federalist papers say, as far as the Constitution is concerned, since the Federalist papers are not a body of law.

The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Powers not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution and also not prohibited by the States are not prohibited by the Constitution. The states can literally, and perfectly legally, vote to grant the government additional powers as they deem necessary, without holding a Constitutional congress and ratifying new amendments each time.


> It doesn't matter what the Federalist papers say, as far as the Constitution is concerned, since the Federalist papers are not a body of law.

No, in fact it matters very much when the question is what the writers of the Constitution meant and intended.

> The states can literally, and perfectly legally, vote to grant the government additional powers as they deem necessary, without holding a Constitutional congress and ratifying new amendments each time.

Sure, the States can vote themselves social welfare, or anything else that the Constitution doesn't prohibit. You could have California Social Security with no constitutional issues at all. That is clear. It's the federal government that cannot do so -- or at least cannot under the obvious and intended reading of the constitution.


>No, in fact it matters very much when the question is what the writers of the Constitution meant and intended.

The writers of the Constitution were not unanimous in their beliefs - the Constitution was a compromise of principles, not a statement of absolute consensus. You're simply declaring the authors whose opinions you agree with to be correct.

James Madison himself opposed versions of the tenth Amendment limiting the Federal government to only the expressly enumerated powers, quoting from Wikipedia here: "James Madison opposed the amendments, stating that "it was impossible to confine a Government to the exercise of express powers; there must necessarily be admitted powers by implication, unless the Constitution descended to recount every minutia."[0]

>It's the federal government that cannot do so -- or at least cannot under the obvious and intended reading of the constitution.

Yes, the Federal government can do so through Congress. The only powers the Federal government is forbidden from exercising are those not enumerated in the Constitution and any others forbidden by the states. Nowhere in the Constitution are the states prohibited from granting powers to the Federal government - which you yourself conceded earlier. Indeed, it would contradict the Tenth Amendment and other parts of the Constitution[1] to claim that states don't have that authority.

[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Amendment_to_the_United_...

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implied_powers


I'd put fair odds on the entire package falling under the Commerce Clause, given that it could be argued to be fundamentally all about keeping the economy running something like normally through large disease outbreaks.


> The Federal government's duty to the people (according to the Constitution) is seeing to their safety from foreign threats. Testing for all is in line with that duty. Being a social safety net is the duty of your family, your church, and your friends. Maybe even your state government.

This is technically correct, and at the time perfectly reasonable.

What would the founding fathers advise when they observed our current situation, where we've allowed the planet to grow into this massively interconnected system, the particular design of which is derived from the "fact" that we've been optimizing for profits above almost everything else (like redundancy/resiliency/shock) for the last <x> decades? I imagine they'd start by remarking that they would never have gotten us into this situation in the first place (for reasons that I hope should finally be visible to people) - but now that we're here, what do you think their advice (including temporary measures) would be now that a significant number of variables have significantly changed?


> Bottom line, personal responsibility goes a long, long way in terms of dealing with job loss and economic downturns.

We personally and responsibly elected officials to provide government assistance for various things rather than just hoping charity covers the gap. So that's fine, right?


>We personally and responsibly elected officials to provide government assistance for various things rather than just hoping charity covers the gap.

Who's "we", and what jurisdiction are you talking about? If you're talking about the US federal government, you're factually wrong, especially for the executive branch, but also the Senate.


Post was anti-any-Federal-social-programs-at-all, and clearly we have tons of those, even if they're less comprehensive and less generous than in pretty much all other advanced-economy states. So at some point we decided those were a good idea. We may decide other ones are good ideas, too, eventually.

Point is I reject the idea that personal responsibility and deciding the right way to handle something is to have the government do it are necessarily opposed. I think the premise is somewhere in "not even wrong" territory.


> So at some point we decided those were a good idea.

I know that this isn't true for at least Social Security. The original promise was that it would be purely voluntary. It was later rolled out to be mandatory. It has also turned in to a stack of IOUs.

Obamacare was a stack of lies (prices didn't stay the same, quality and access to care decreased, providers could not be kept). It also is a money pit.

I also know that despite our awful implementations of social programs no other economy in the world currently rivals that of the US. Even in poor economic conditions. The poorest of the poor in this country is in magnitude better conditions than their companions in other countries. I'm don't want my country weighed down any more, the way most others are.


> The poorest of the poor in this country is in magnitude better conditions than their companions in other countries.

This is objectively untrue by pretty much any measure.

For instance on plenty of health related metrics the US is significantly worse than most first world countries (such as infant mortality), and some regions are worse than even many third world countries (such as Texas).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infant_an...

44th on this list

The idea that poor people are significantly better off in the USA is a flat out lie.


If enough people don't like those things we can get rid of them, right? I guess enough people like them.

Also, specifically:

> It has also turned in to a stack of IOUs.

I mean, that's what an awful lot of financial instruments are. It'd still kinda be true even if the fund were bales of cash in a warehouse.


Replying in parallel because I cannot reply to the child post.

> infant mortality

The measures used in the US for determining infant mortality are much more stringent than in other countries [0]. This accounts for the ranking: we track mortality where others do not.

[0] https://www.nationalreview.com/2011/09/infant-mortality-dece...


National Review is garbage. That article states, "Any assumption that the practice of underreporting is confined to less-developed nations is incorrect. In fact, a number of published peer-reviewed studies show that underreporting of early neonatal deaths has varied between 10 percent and 30 percent in highly developed Western European and Asian countries." Yet the article doesn't include references to these "published peer-reviewed studies". Garbage.


I had to do some digging, which is frustrating. Proper journalism cites sources (when able to - corroboration is sufficient in some cases). I apologize for not doing my digging before hand.

Here you are:

1) the WHO admits that measures in countries it collects data from are often not taken in a consistent manner. "Monitoring progress is challenging in light of weak health information systems in some countries. Problems such as underreporting and differences between official data and estimates made by international agencies are some of the contributing factors."

2) We have "... anecdotal evidence suggests that countries do not use consistent practices in measuring these data [2] [3]"

I'll have to do more digging. These are hard to find references. There may be a hard copy of [2] at my university's law library.

[0] http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Life-stages/materna...

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4193257/#__sec2...

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12343088

[3] Hartford RA. New Perspectives on Infant Mortality in the United States: Findings from International Research Studies. Presented at the Association for Social Sciences in Health Meeting at the National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, MD.. Feb. 4, 1992 <-- What's interesting here is that the authors of [1] left a link to scholar.google.com, with no specific reference. This may take a while to track down.


> Federal government's duty to the people (according to the Constitution) is seeing to their safety from foreign threats

Where does the Constitution say this?


The Preamble states that one of the purposes of the Constitution is "to provide for the common defence".

Article 1, Section 8 specifies that Congress shall have power to: punish piracy, declare war, raise and support armies, provide and maintain a navy, provide for calling forth the militia to repel invasions.

Article 2, Section 2 specifies that the President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States.

Defending the nation against foreign threats is integral to national security and definitely part of the US Constitution.


Your argument is that we should not pass anything to help those affected by the virus and help prevent the spread but that we should also end medicare, medicaid, snap and social security because that's not what the framers intended?

The role of government is fluid, roles and responsibilities change with facts on the ground.

Condemning the poor to death is not the way to go.


> Your argument is that we should not pass anything to help those affected by the virus and help prevent the spread

No. My argument is that if we don't sunset socialist policies, they will become rule of law. Without a time-limit provision the socialist programs in this bill are partisan.

> we should also end medicare, medicaid, snap and social security because that's not what the framers intended

Yes. Social Security removes a person's ability to choose how they spend and save the money that gets shuttled to the government. All social programs create dependency on the state; a state of being that we call "unhealthy" when it is between two consenting adults. I think that it is even less healthy when a person becomes dependent on a bureaucratic behemoth that does not have their best interest at heart.

I'll point you to the cases of Alfie Evans [0] and Bloomberg's comments on death panels [1]. Social programs aren't about helping people (even though they are talked about that way). Social programs are about power and removing choice from people.

> Condemning the poor to death is not the way to go.

I do not condemn the poor to death. I say that the states are responsible for their people, not the Federal government. This isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. It is possible for states, family, friends, etc. to see to the welfare of their own and for the Fed to stay in its lane. No one is condemned to anything.

[0] https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/25/health/alfie-evans-appeal-bn/...

[1] https://twitter.com/CANCEL_SAM/status/1229127380402393088

[edit for spelling]


What is the difference between the states or federal government running social programs. Different states have vastly different financial capabilities, that's why they each pay into the federal government who then provides the same benefits to all regardless of their state. This prevents people in a state such as Kentucky receiving a tiny percentage of the benefits an economy like California could provide.

I get we are coming at this from vastly different perspectives but I see no issue with a social program such as sick leave, and medical care becoming permanent. I would argue this pandemic is a strong argument for universal health care. The poorest among us by not getting tested can spread the virus to those who are able to afford getting tested and treated. If I am a poor hourly worker and I get sick, I am still going to go to work because if I stay home my kids don't eat. When I am at work I likely make food for wealthier people who then get sick due to my lack of ability to afford to take time off. Guaranteed paid time off fixes this. This pandemic is not a one time event, there will be more and they could be worse.

Of course social programs are about helping people. If I am poor and cannot afford food for my family, what choice has SNAP taken from me? If I am am cold and cannot afford heat, what choice has LIHEAP taken from me?


> Social programs aren't about helping people

One of the primary arguments against Social Security at the time of its enactment was that it would reduce the labor by allowing more people to safely retire in old age. I think we can safely say that this is, in fact, what actually happened.


No.


Yes, clearly what we need to deal with a crisis is a little personal responsibility, not a government that even pretends to be effective at addressing it.


Exactly. It's my personal responsibility to single-handedly ensure the medical system is not too overloaded to handle otherwise treatable cases. That means I personally have to starve if necessary. Not at all something that requires a collective effort. m(


I hope this is sarcasm, because I surely don’t intend to die of this virus or the consequences of this pandemic simply to benefit you. If the government won’t help me survive, I’ll do what I need to do to survive myself. There’s your “personal responsibility” right there.


for the record: yes, that was sarcasm. the "m(" is a face palm. :D


What more couldve been done? Not a rhetorical question. It's just that I dont see how the governement could stop the initial spread since little to nothing was known in the really early phases of the epidemic. Even the early mortality rates were probably... not honestly reported by China.

If you compare it to a country like Italy that oddly enough seems to be getting praised for it's handling of the pandemic, what more should the US have done? Especially considering how much more lethal it is in Italy and just how crazily fast it spread there. Still, as a non american, it seems to me like everyone talks about how incompetent the US is when they are doing the same or better than their peers?


Here's a few things that could have (and reasonably should have) been done:

* Getting testing kits distributed earlier.

* Not downplaying the severity and contagiousness of the virus.

* Not presenting the virus as a Democratic hoax.

* Putting industry experts in charge of the response rather than politicians.

* Having a fully staffed CDC.

There have been multiple statements by the administration to correct or rectify earlier statements by the same administration. The response has been confusing, contradictory, and in its partisan nature (see bullet point 3 and 4), untrustworthy.


I won't disagree with anything you said when it comes to what the governement did/didn't do but that's the thing, I think the sheer element of luck and numbers that comes with pandemics makes most of that irrelevant. Infected people came from Europe, Iran, China, etc. I don't think any adequate response could've dealt with that. Consider Italy, in which we just didn't know the extent of the disease's spread.

Would it have been wise to test people that travelled there? What if Italy was doing just fine but Sweden had an unknown huge infection number? Would checking every single traveller make sense then, because it could've been anywhere? And from the point when it was already inside the US and highly contagious, does Trumps incompetence really matter?

I mean we are at that point where it's definitely not stoppable. if the situation worsens in terms of mortality and infection numbers become unmanageable then yeah I think that would be something else. But right now the US is actually doing better than the average


If you want an example of how to competently handle this crisis, just look at South Korea.

The US had a whole month to get prepared for this, and instead did pretty much nothing, and even refused to import test kits and prepare itself for large-scale testing the way SK did.

The US has absolutely been incompetent, and while it hasn't been the only incompetent country (Spain is probably another one), it's easily the most visible because of its size and economic power and status as a superpower.


Wouldn't Italy be a worst example than Spain?


I'm honestly not sure. Italy has some conditions that made it more vulnerable, like a larger portion of its population being older.


So what? Whataboutism proves nothing and is a distraction from the main issue (that the Trump administration bungled its response).


I'm not trying to make any "whataboutist" argument, it's just that the best way to judge the performance of the US or any country is to compare it to their peers. I'm not even arguing about who's better here, I'm saying that even with an incompetent administration the US seems to fare okay, which seems to indicate it's a lot more complex to deal with or to prevent than people seem to think?

Especially since comments and news about this seem to always highlight how bad the US is dealing with this and how efficient and proactive the EU is when facts prove the opposite? There is a lot of things the rest of the world can blame the US gov for, but this?


> everyone talks about how incompetent the US is when they are doing the same or better than their peers?

This has to do with who is currently POTUS. The media in this country are far left leaning, to the point that most at the national level panicked when he was elected. If a person's only source of information is the big 3 or 4 outlets, they will never hear anything positive about the current administration.


This has to do with specific criticisms of what the current POTUS does or doesn't do.

The idea that people "just" hate him is a pernicious excuse for avoiding discussion of those specific criticisms.


The idea that the "media" is far left leaning is factually incorrect. The most popular news network in America is highly supportive of Trump: https://www.foxnews.com/media/highest-viewership-network-his...


The other four are not.


Ah yes, the monolithic "media" run by liberal, capitalist organizations are "far-left"


The idea that "nothing more could have been done" by the government is a laughable farce, the US federal government continues to incompetently bumble and lots of people are going to die as a result. They are sticking to their guns on cutting CDC funding for crying out loud.


I agree on a lot of what you say but my main point here is that it seems like European countries, even with affordable/free healthcare, better funded governement orgs and a lot less ground to cover have empirically worst results. So isn't it just a lot of... Luck? More than competence or lack thereof?


One major difference here to keep in mind is that Europe as a whole generally has much, much higher population density than most of the US, as well as far less distance between population centers. Accidental spread between towns and cities is much easier there just by pure geography.


I think OP meant Pelosi trying to stick funding for abortions into the bill, thereby putting the access to testing funding at risk.


A safety net absolutely is "super partisan crazy talk" in the US, because a large fraction of the population simply doesn't support it, including another responder to this post. This just goes to show how different cultures can be. Your point-of-view is obviously not very American at all, and probably much more European, so the very idea of not providing food and a safety net in a time of crisis, to you, is almost unthinkable. However, for most Americans, this idea is seen as "socialist" and repugnant, whereas for example the idea of not having the freedom to own lots of guns is almost unthinkable to them.

In short, don't assume that most people share your basic values or worldview. You might be living in a place where they simply don't.


Be careful with how you throw around your "not very American at all" claims.

America is a big place. It is unwise to presume you know all of it.

In my part of it, most of us think letting people die of privation due to misfortune and societal factors outside their control in such a wealthy society is cruel and foolish (read history to understand why it is foolish). In my part of America, most of us also think letting random individuals own weapons constructed purposely for killing multiple humans quickly is absolutely insane.

YMMV


And your part of America is free to pass all the social safety net programs for your part of America and to tax your part of America to pay for it.

We don't need to create a social safety net at the federal level. Prove that the idea works at the state level before you trying to scale half-baked ideas to the whole country.


> In short, don't assume that most people share your basic values or worldview. You might be living in a place where they simply don't

I think that's covered under his "something very wrong with us".


That's his opinion. Tens of millions of other Americans don't think so at all, and they're making their voices heard in national elections and successfully choosing our leaders.


That would be fine, but it seems that fairly often, once they need those safety nets and not "those other people", those principles no longer apply.


Picking an example disconnected from modern politics...

Suppose that every year the federal government gave each family a baked goose to celebrate our acquisition of colonies via the Spanish-American War. You can think this is an offensive celebration or a crazy waste of money, but why not accept the goose when it is delivered? It's still a tasty meal, even if you think it shouldn't be given out.

That is what is going on. It's not hypocrisy, hate, or inconsistent principles.


[flagged]


Voting in my best interest would necessarily include policies taking things from some Americans and giving it to me. Just because I'm voting in my best interest doesn't mean I'm voting for something good.

What matters is voting consistent with principles even if they aren't in your best interest.


No. You seem to be unfamiliar with the idea that "a rising tide lifts all boats". You're assuming that acting what appear to be your best short-term interests will equate to a better outcome in the long term, which is usually not the case.

For instance, should you vote to abolish police and courts, so you don't have to pay taxes for them? In the short term, that would net you more money. In the long term, it would mean you'll be living in a lawless wasteland and someone will rob and murder you.


I have a feeling that many of the working poor with mild symptoms would resist getting tested even if the test is free, due to the economic costs of quarantine if they test positive. Strengthening the public social safety net (and using govt funds to pay for sick leave of those who test positive) seems like a prudent public-health measure, to help ensure that people are more willing to get tested and to self-quarantine if they are infected.


Yep, and for good reason: they absolutely should keep working (and spreading the disease around) if they have it, because they cannot afford not to. This is the consequence of having a society where there's no real social safety net to handle crises like this.

Personally, I'm a well-paid tech worker, but even for me, if I'm quarantined, my company policy is that I cannot come to work (nor can I work from home), and I must take either PTO or (if that's exhausted) medical leave of absence (without pay). Luckily, I'm single and frugal, live well below my means, and have lots of savings because I'm somewhat paranoid, so I can easily live for a few months without pay, but this just isn't true for most people, especially people without families who aren't overpaid tech workers like me. So I certainly cannot criticize people at the low end of the scale who avoid getting quarantined: they have to do this to survive. If we don't like this, then maybe we should have done a better job voting for leaders who would handle health crises better and set up social safety nets for things like this.


Is there any particular reason for why you can't work from home?


Yes.


> even if the test is free, due to the economic costs of quarantine if they test positive.

Worse than that, they could even face a Tom Hanks Philadelphia like situation, after they test positive.


That's unlikely, covid19 is not infectious for very long after symptoms disappear [relative to HIV's infectiousness].


It...kind of makes sense, though?

SNAP: People are going to be out of work because of this, not everyone has a job they can work from home with, and emergency savings in America are sparse enough to where it's a real concern.

Food bank services: People are going to be out of work because of it, so on, and encouraging people to keep in one region delays the spread of the virus.

Student Meals: ?

Senior nutrition programs: Reducing spread among the most vulnerable, plus most of those programs are about increasing the quality of nutrition, which might help boost immune systems.

Medicaid increase: (explained in that blurb)

If anything, it seems like this would be agreeable among both sides overall, especially when taking into account 45's television address, which focused heavily on the elderly. It makes sense, because there's a strong incentive for the Republican side of the aisle to keep them alive: too much of them gone at once and more than a few of them would be at risk of losing their seats.


Re: students, a nontrivial fraction of students get meals from the schools they attend, so if schools close this would help cover that demographic.


Oh yeah, of course! Thanks for pointing that out!


Nobody is saying it doesn't make sense, but does it really need to be on the same bill?


If you want mass testing, you need to create circumstances that allow people to go and get tested. If a positive test would result in a quarantine without a financial "safety net", then people won't agree to be tested or will ignore test results and the goal of the bill will fail.

Actually doing the tests and "here's what will happen if you get tested positive, and it's not horrible and won't bankrupt you" are two sides of the same coin. I mean, the end goal is not tests as such but to restrict spread of the disease. If "tests are available" but if the vulnerable parts of the population (e.g. the dude putting stuff on the shelf of your local store or the girl at the counter) don't have that safety net, then the testing was useless because they'll still go to work and infect you and others. So this safety net is a key part of the bill.


Things will get worse without those things, so it seems like it does.


The goal of mass testing would be better served if the controversial issues were separated from the immediate one.

Dealing with only the surface level issues and ignoring everything else seems like a great way to pretend like you are accomplishing something without actually doing anything useful.

What parts of the bill do you consider too much "social assistance"?


> What parts of the bill do you consider too much "social assistance"?

There is a sect in the USA that considers the social assistance already in place as too much no matter what. That's the mindset of the opposition here.

This isn't even a political hot take from me. It's an often-stated purpose.


That sect is frequently referred to as "the Republicans."


Not the parent, nor am I saying I agree with the parent. But I'm pretty sure the answer to your question is: "It also seeks to give workers new protections, including paid emergency leave, with both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave, as well as enhanced unemployment insurance, which will extend protections to furloughed workers."


Testing means nothing if people then just go to work anyway because they can't stay home, whether to self quarantine or to care for family members and then self quarantine, without being fired.


No disagreement from me! Just trying to clarify what I believe the parent would have interpreted as "too much 'social assistance'" in case it wasn't obvious for some reason


By packing so much social assistance into the bill, the House is going to create serious problems with getting it through the Senate.

It could be seen as a political gamble that even Mitch McConnell doesn't want to be seen as that much of a monster, as one who turns away furloughed and quarantined workers from assistance.

Or it could be seen simply as "being a human being with some compassion".

Or it could be seen as, "doesn't make much sense for free testing if people are going to lose their homes if they test positive". I'm going with the last one. Free tests to see if I'm still employable or not? Yeah, that's a hard pass from me, I've got kids to feed.


SNAP is set to be cut in April. It's essential that the program coverage not be cut during what is almost certainly a massively global recession. The most vulnerable will die without this assistance.


The administration confirmed a couple days ago it is still intending to push forward with their budget request to cut CDC funding by 15%. They don't care about poor people.


Hourly people (including those working food services) would not get tested as they would then be forced to quarantine. They cant afford to lose 2 weeks of pay and potentially their jobs so they would avoid the test all together. Given a choice of going to work and potentially infecting others or losing their jobs and their kids going without food most are going to skip the test and go to work.

Additional safety nets are required to incentive those people to get tested. The only way to do that is to ensure they receive their pay, their jobs are secure and the test and treatment is free.


I guess the financial crisis was a whole decade ago now, but the consensus back then was that if we wanted to avert a full blown depression, we needed to move fast, and be bold.

None of those programs listed sound frivolous to me, given what’s probably coming financially. It’s better to get this on the table now, than have to keep coming back piecemeal over the next year.


Ah, partisanship - the true amnesiac.

9/11 got used to push through horrific legislation, but most people only cared because of partisan results and cared nothing for the mechanism of action. here we see the same mechanism of action in effect again, and again only people who disagree along partisan lines care. i thought we were engineers, coders, and scientists? hackers, for god's sakes. what happened to systems-level thinking? what happened to working the problem (the ROOT problem) with rationality?

we've had dangerous global pandemics very, very recently (SARS, swine flu) but none saw fit to take the alarmist stance so many commenters emotionally grandstand with today ("this is not.the.fucking.flu", et. al.). where will your righteous anger and verve be two years from now?

the HN comments themselves and subsequent upvotes/downvotes have been truly disappointing. divine comedy indeed. just weather the storm, friends. you know where the coronavirus looks safest? where there is the most testing - south korea.

dont worry, everyone. earth's orbit weaves through cosmic missiles with sufficient energy to immediately and permanently extinguish all life on earth, and we have neither the detection capacity for warning nor the prevention capacity to stop it even if we had warning.


I mean this is basic. Without paid leave sick peopke will come into work. 2 weeks is a fraction of the standard European sick leave so it isn’t even that onerous.


Thank god Europe had the extended sick leave in place or else they might have a COVID outbreak right now.


I got some bad news if you think the USA's response and cultural attitudes are going to result in a better weathering of this crisis.


As of March 12th, you are wrong. But I appreciate your optimism that you will be right! We need more people with very strong unfounded opinions that they treat as fact if we want democracy to succeed.


"Hey, it's an emergency, pull out your wish list for the past four decades."


> "Hey, it's an emergency, pull out your wish list for the past four decades."

All the proposals listed in the article makes total sense in the context of this crisis. Sick time for people to quarantine, food assistance for the people whose incomes will drop due to the fast approaching recession and isolation measures, all totally on-topic.

The US has long-understood systematic problems that will contribute to making this crisis worse. If you want to mitigate the crisis, you'll want to fix those issues that you can.


"Hey, it's an emergency of exactly the kind we've been trying to prevent. Let's suggest the things we've been suggesting to prevent exactly this kind of emergency."


One side is definitely doing that. The Democratic proposals seem to largely revolve around ensuring food/medical access. Meanwhile...

https://twitter.com/elwasson/status/1238133144173281280

> A key sticking point in the talks appears to be GOP demands to include Hyde amendment language in the bill to prevent federal funds from being used for abortion.


Republicans are mostly just proposing their solution for everything, tax cuts. So it's the same debate we always have, tax cuts vs direct assistance.


You could also rephrase it as stuff that will not do anything to stop the spread of the virus (tax cuts) vs stuff that is recommended by health experts to mitigate the spread of the virus by idneitifying the afflicted and incentivising them to not make decisions that will impact society negatively.


Is it even a debate anymore? The last 40 years of history have shown that tax cuts only benefit the wealthy.


Agreed. It sounds like this is a very non-partisan bill, with only a small part publicised to make it sound partisan. It's almost disingenuous to add everything else in there.


If I know anything about American politics it's that EVERYTHING is partisan


Well, everything is treated as partisan.

Michelle Obama's "kids should eat healthier school lunches" wasn't partisan, but it was treated as such.


I strongly disagree. Testing is much less important than the social net.

We will not be able to test everyone even if it's free, and we don't need to test everyone to flatten the curve. We need to keep people insulated which can only happen if people are able to survive while insulated.


The goal is not mass testing, what good is mass testing if it just tells us that the virus is spreading rapidly because people can't afford to stay home?


It'll shut up the "its just a cold/flu" people if you have proof you're contagious. People are still going to work and doing errands.


This seems like a really smart move to me.

It's a win-win for Democrats -- either the bill passes, along with all this reform that was stuck into it, which dems can brag about to voters in the campaign.

Or it doesn't pass, because of all the stuffing, and dems get yet another example of republicans moving slowly on the issue and blocking much-needed reform.


> Or it doesn't pass, because of all the stuffing, and dems get yet another example of republicans moving slowly on the issue and blocking much-needed reform.

Yep, and that's exactly why we've elected 8 Republican administrations (not counting Ford because he wasn't elected), and 5 Democratic administrations since 1968. Oh, wait....


It's only a win-win from the political perspective of the house majority. From the perspective of the public good, legislation needs to pass. The people will not really benefit from another political missile being added to one side's arsenal, they need working legislation.


So tell your Senator to pass the bill, then.

Any negative aspect here is entirely on the heads of the Republican senate majority for being worse than useless about any kind of public relief. They could easily get ahead of this thing by passing a lesser bill that provides some or temporary benefits, but that would mean helping people instead of corporations.


> It's only a win-win from the political perspective of the house majority

sounds like American politics in a nutshell to me, aside from a few rare exceptions!


Controversial issues like not killing people during a crisis?


If that was the point of the bill, all measures would have well-defined time limits (e.g. 3 months, after which they need to be renewed). That's how Switzerland does it (even the constitution has time limit!)

Edit: I mean limiting the amount of time these bills remain valid, not just limiting the amount of paid leave.


14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave

Those seem like pretty specific limits.

What other limits do you feel are missing from the bill?


Obviously the OP here means on how long 14 days of paid sick leave and three months of paid family and medical leave will remain the case. If it's indefinitely, then this is clearly Democrats trying to attach what they've campaigned for to a Coronavirus bill, in an attempt to make it seem like Republicans are the ones holding up Coronavirus support.

If it's the rest of this year, then it likely should be passed.


If those provisions go away, then they just become a problem again within a few years when the next novel coronavirus strain appears, and in the meantime all the money spent on setting up the necessary bureaucracy has been wasted by just chucking all it out the window.


Like it or not, guaranteed medical leave and guaranteed sick leave has been a political issue for decades.

It makes sense in times like these of course. But it's been 50 years since there's been a panic similar to this over a virus.

Attaching something permanent to a disaster relief bill is a scummy political move.


I see nothing scummy about it. It's a low cost (several billion dollars per year, compared to $3 trillion in tax revenues) way to nationally, permanently reduce the impact of this and all future outbreaks.

If it's worth doing at all, it's worth doing right instead of just throwing something out there that will only help in this specific situation.


I haven't run the numbers on giving every employee 2 weeks of paid sick leave and 3 months of paid medical leave.

But I find it really hard to believe this adds up to only several billion dollars, given there are over 150 million employees in this country.


So, bump that up to $50 billion a year. What does it matter? The Iraq War cost $157 billion per year with no impact on the day to day lives of US citizens, so we can obviously afford that much without needing to stress about it.


The real disaster is that every American worker doesn't already have these benefits.


I think tomp is talking about a time limit on the validity of the legislation itself, not the provisions in it.


The crisis doesn't have a well-defined time limit. They could add some automatic vote mechanism but thinking about the ins and outs of the timing seems a lot more politically charged then not having a limit.


If you undo all the social support afterwards, that just means it becomes a problem again with the next SARS/MERS/COVID strain.


I mean, this is how politics generally works. Almost every big bill has included in it things that don't relate to the bill and are just on someone's wishlist to get passed. It'll likely be rejected by the senate and amended, but this is pretty normal politics to me.


Except none of those things are unrelated. They are directly related. The only difference is that in most other developed countries they are available as part of daily life without an emergency. The US needs to add stuff like paid sick leave because it is not available normally, and without it you’re very likely to find people consciously or even sub consciously avoiding testing, or going in to work even if they are sick because they will face a severe financial impact other wise.


Yup plus it gives them the opportunity to grandstand about why their rivals didn't approve


The reason this stuff is acceptable is we just shrug it off as "normal politics". Politicians should not take advantage of emergencies by tacking wish list items on to bills that address the emergency.


> Politicians should not take advantage of emergencies by tacking wish list items on to bills that address the emergency.

What exactly are the unrelated wish list items here? Everything I'm seeing here looks on point and directly relevant to this crisis.

Workers need rights to sick time right now, or the virus will spread even more quickly and this will be worse. People are going to be losing jobs or hours because of this, and if they don't have extra cash they're going to need food assistance. Medicaid is about to get hit hard, just like every health insurance program. The elderly and disabled people are vulnerable groups, and are going to need greater levels of assistance during the coming disruptions.


Providing food and healthcare is a "wish list item" during a pandemic?


> The reason this stuff is acceptable is we just shrug it off as "normal politics"

Not really. They understand what they're doing, this happens because it is a contemporary political strategy in the U.S, it doesn't matter what individual constituents feel about the practice.


I think the point the parent is making is that "normal politics" need not apply here given the abnormal situation we find ourselves in


> I mean, this is how politics generally works

In the USA


These are basic measures to effectively fight coronavirus...

The goal of not overwhelming our healthcare system and minimizing deaths is best served by getting a full set of measures out fast.


If you believe the social assistance is necessary, this kind of brinksmanship is the only way to get it through the senate at all.


It is a bit freigthening to follow US politics on this. Everything seems to be politicized.

I compare it to Denmark where the opposition fully supported the government's decision to shut down schools and send home public sector employees.

I am pretty sure no politician here would dare to politicize a situation like this because of the fear of being punished by their voters.


If large numbers of people start dying you'll likely see the tolerance for political grandstanding drop to near zero. In the meantime, politics are the dominate sport of the United States and people will vigorously cheer for their chosen team.


Can you explain exactly what is controversial about those additions?

Generally speaking, strengthening social assistance during a period where social assistance is going to be strained seems like a good idea.


> Generally speaking, strengthening social assistance during a period where social assistance is going to be strained seems like a good idea.

Not when your stated purpose is to dismantle said social assistance, which explains why this bill is going to die in the Senate.


Those are all directly related to the issue at hand. People are going to need to stay home, eat food there, and get medical assistance.


The Democrats could pack universal single payer healthcare into this bill and it would still pass. It would be political suicide for Republicans and Trump to block it. They would of course scream about the Democrats playing politics, but they do that about everything already, so what's new. The Democrats would be able to say they tried to help the country in a time of crisis and were blocked. It would be a win-win for Democrats.

Disclaimer: I am an independent and don't think Medicare for all is a good idea. Still though.


given that COVID-19 is untreatable and people who are at-risk or symptomatic should go ahead and hunker down as if they have it whether it's lab-confirmed or not, I don't think testing millions is more critical than ensuring affected people remain housed and fed while they are out of work.

testing is important for public health data and understanding how the virus is spreading and how to respond, but economic security is absolutely an "immediate issue" for anybody laid off or unemployed because of the pandemic.


I'm sure that was by-design.

It's a common game for the House to throw up packages they know the Senate will bat down. They are trying to make the Senate look bad in the eyes of the nation.

"Senate vetos critical Coronavirus support package."


If the Senate votes against expanded worker sick leave protections and expanded food aid in the middle of a crisis massively influenced by lack of sick leave protections and lack of food aid, then they should look bad.


What is to prevent the Senate taking it up, amending it, and then negotiating the differences over a day or two? This persistent refusal to even consider or debate legislation that isn't already tailored to the (implicit) wishes of the Senate is just a procedural veto. The Senate's behavior is like one person hitting another and then saying 'now look what you made me do.'

Why do you hold the House responsible for the political choices of the Senate?


Once again, vastly better and more effective policy actions coming out of the House than the Senate or White House. A payroll tax cut isn't going to help service industry workers who lose their jobs due to demand falling off a cliff. Right now there are two crises unfolding simultaneously in the US: the virus itself and its devastating impact on the payment side of the health care system. Across the US, particularly in states that didn't adopt the ACA, workers are uninsured or underinsured. Those workers are going to attempt to work through illness because they can't pay for care and, in turn, will massively spread the virus.

It's a train wreck that's been decades in the making


The normal course of action, which has become almost unthinkable in recent years, is that house + senate leaders would quickly bang together some bipartisan legislation that gets the crisis addressed that is voted through and rubber stamped in no time by the president. Instead you have a president playing anti migration sentiments via Twitter while not listening to his advisors, a very hands-off republican senate that defaults to saying "no" to just about anything, and a democratic house calling their bluff. None of them are looking particularly good.

I think it's a reasonable expectation to still see that happen eventually. There are only so many casualties most elected representatives, senators, etc. will be able to have happen on their watch before their electorate calls them out. They sure are taking their sweet time though. But it's an election year too and absolutely nothing is out of scope for when it comes to that.


What’s with the flood of downvotes on this comment? It’s civil, relevant, and contributes to discussion of the topic. Maybe you disagree with its conclusion, but that’s not what downvotes are for.


I agree with the downmodded comment, but it's important to remember that downmodding can be used to express disagreement:

Paul Graham:

I think it's ok to use the up and down arrows to express agreement. Obviously the uparrows aren't only for applauding politeness, so it seems reasonable that the downarrows aren't only for booing rudeness.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=117171

Also, try not to comment on the voting on comments, it doesn't help much, and breaks the site's guidelines:

Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Because anything that blames government policy for specific failures beyond a generic bemoaning of "regulations" is seen as "too political" and "uncivil" by HN.


ACA is far better than Obamacare.


Frankly we need to be revamping how we handle travel security, specially the TSA. Pat downs and dirty shared bins are certainly vectors for transmission, and should stop. We should probably also be checking for fever and diverting sick travelers.

The no cost tests are great, but we need to get over our aversion to the mediocre foreign test kits and additionally ramp up supply of kits. Free is useless if there’s a backlog and large lag time for testing.


We should rethink our entire security culture, which has long been unmoored from reality. Why is (most) everyone still expected to take their shoes off in airports, because one inept terrorist attempted to detonate a bomb in his shoes back in 2001? Likewise, things like public toilets in subway stations have been 'temporarily closed' for nearly 20 years.

We went from rational levels of elevated caution and prudence to paranoia and created a surveillance society, creating a false sense of security against other hazards. Now we're in a state of institutional and fiscal paralysis because we've run into a conflict with nature, in which social theater and abstractions like nationality or sovereignty are meaningless.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Reid#Preparation_for_b...


> Pat downs and dirty shared bins are certainly vectors for transmission, and should stop.

At very, very least, there needs to be a mandate that shoes never go in the bins. (Or just end the shoe part of security theater, but I'd like a pony too.) The last security line I went through was requiring them to go in the bins, and seeing people stuff the shoes they've been tramping around the city all week in next to their scarves was vaguely nauseating.


I flew in January from SJC to John Wayne (and back) and they told us to keep our shoes on.


Sign up for GE/PreCheck and that can be a reality.


That doesn't solve the PUBLIC health problem where other people being subjected to this can effect you later.


I’m surprised by the lack of temperature screening, especially in airports. It doesn’t seem hard to implement. We can at least strongly encourage individuals with fevers to self-quarantine and monitor.

Baseless conjecture, but I think instruction from a government envoy to self-quarantine based on a temperature reading is more likely to work on people than hoping they check and decide on their own.


I think unfortunately the US federal government doesn't have the capability to right size responses, or to move very quickly right now.

I have no clue what the fix is.


Competent, predictable leadership in the executive branch would be a start.


I guess, but that doesn't do anything to fix congress which controls spending, or bureaucratic morass among the day to day functionaries in government.

Which is to say that I believe Americans writ general expect far too much from the executive.


While that's true, a competent Presidency still would have benefited people in a variety of ways, such as realistic centralized messaging about the risks of the disease and how to prepare for it, and better oversight and support of test kit distribution.

And, you know, not literally calling it a 'Democratic hoax' in the midst of people in the US being infected by the disease.


I agree that messaging would be better.

I guess I'm primarily concerned that our government has arrived at a place where it's systemically unable to adequately form consensus and take action quickly.


China and South Korea are the best models for controlling the spread of Covid-19. 75-80% of all infections in China were in family clusters. Eliminating home isolations had a big impact there.

Travel screening could help, lots of these things are independent and have cumulative benefit. But identifying and isolating the infectious is far and away the best way to limit the spread.


I agree, but we probably can't have local party officials stand outside of everyone's homes and test them every time they come back.

We could and should set up mobile testing facilities.


> we probably can't have local party officials stand outside of everyone's homes and test them every time they come back.

Yeah, we can't have a lot of China's solutions here at all.

But we could have state or county officials set up voluntary fever screenings and have them relay the criticality of the value of isolation limiting the spread of the disease.

> We could and should set up mobile testing facilities.

Colorado has some now. Other states should follow their lead. Unfortunately AFAICT it only includes a "get your previously-ordered-by-a-physician test here". Which means that the potentially infectious patient had to visit a clinic with other patients who came for other reasons. Better still would be to (like SK) staff these mobile clinics with physicians who can take a history, rule out influenza/bacterial pneumonia and order tests like a CT if necessary.


Yeah, I agree. We need distributed solutions with a lot of layers.

- probably mandate some paid leave for the next X months federally - local testing centers - quarantine at state and local levels when there are confirmed cases (probably the hardest thing) - incentivize private production of test kits, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, etc - checking travelers


At this point those measures won't help at all when it comes to travel. Temperature scanners and protective medical gear should instead be used to deal with the contagion inside cities, counties etc. Trying to limit international/interstate spread just doesn't matter as much, no?


I'd say it matters a lot for containing and delaying the spread to new states.


And then it will either die in the Senate or somehow pass unanimously with the exception of Rand Paul.


The virus will probably spread to the Senate though.. it's already infected many foreign health officials and they are supposed to be the ones who are cautious..


Senate is already saying it's dead...


Senate may well be dead if they are seen to be standing in the way of getting testing done (or at least the 33 of them up for reelection this year).


This could happen in a literal sense too. Aren't a lot of them over 60?


given that the average age of a senator is 61, good chance that a lot of them will be literally dead.


I hope the American people remember who kept these bills from becoming law and let more people die because they were playing politics.


Was it the people saying to remove all the extras, or the people who put the extras in?


> Was it the people saying to remove all the extras, or the people who put the extras in?

What extras?


Americans have short memories when it comes to politics, and a remarkable ability to endure cognitive dissonance.


They won't lol. FFS joe biden is getting nominated


Source?


Not dead but Lamar Alexander reported McConnell plans to take it up after recess (March 23).


Going on a recess during a crisis is tantamount to desertion.


We are in the third month of the outbreak and "free testing" is still something up for debate... It's surreal.. When time means lives, the gov should really unite and work on something useful quickly.

I'm wondering when did US start to lose the ability of "fast execution" since WWII.


You can offer people $10 to get tested -- if the tests don't exist, what difference will this make? Where ARE all the tests, anyway?


What do you mean the tests don't exist? The most common test uses nasal swabs and the Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) technique. Millions have been tested globally and thousands in the US: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/testing.html

In the UK the NHS will drop a kit off at your house if you call up and say you have the symptons. In the UK you will soon be able to buy them directly for £40 online: https://www.drandrews.co.uk/covid-19-corona-virus-self-test-...


There's two steps here, getting material from people who may be infected and analyzing it to check. The US is bottlenecked by the latter, we haven't mobilized our labs.

Frankly if they wanted to get more tests out faster they should be getting university labs mobilized. Conferences are already on hiatus for presenting research, get the researchers who aren't focused on medicine but capable of preparing lab results working on it.


South Korea...


China recently gave a bunch of test-kits to Italy ... maybe you can talk to them?


As an outsider to the US things like this feel like this should be part of the system already. It's socialized medicine but they don't dare call it that.


So is this free testing but pay the ICU ?


Baby steps. "Medicare for All for Coronavirus" would be guaranteed to die in the Senate, at least for now.


> "Medicare for All for Coronavirus" would be guaranteed to die in the Senate, at least for now.

This is absolutely true, and that fact that it is amazes me and makes me disappointed in my own country. This virus is unprecedented in recent history, excluding the Spanish Flu of course, and the fact that something of this magnitude is completely insufficient for the Senate to get over their [hangups/ideological opposition/ownership by insurance companies] concerning healthcare is sickening. If this doesn't wake people up to the necessity of more universal healthcare, and make blindingly obvious the superiority of the response of countries with more universal systems, nothing will.


Coronavirus started in a country with universal healthcare.

The only way to actually prevent the spread of this type of disease is independent of government - changing personal behavior.


No man is an island. 'Changing personal behavior' means nothing when someone's only option is to go into work sick because they literally can't afford to stay home without being evicted.


> The only way to actually prevent the spread of this type of disease is independent of government - changing personal behavior.

There are all sorts of governmental actions that can change personal behavior.


So there is nothing governments can do to help, its 100% down to personal responsibility?


Disease asymmetrically impacts the poor. Guess what they vote?


This is a token gesture. Free testing is not enough. Free treatment should be a minimum. Does anyone think that the improvements to unemployment can pay for a few weeks in the icu? That would bankrupt anyone without decent insurance or a high enough out of pocket maximum. And if not bankrupt, really hurt them. Especially while on unemployment / disability. This clearly shows neither party really gives a fuck about people. One pretends a little more than the other. This won't pass the Senate.


Here is the text of the bill for those interested.

H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201...


You have to pay to be tested in the US? I'm incredulous.

This will mean the virus sticks around quite a bit longer, and that has a material affect on the global population.


In the US, the default state of affairs is that you have to pay for all health care, even if it's to protect other people from you.


Why would you have to pay to get tested...


Because in the US, you have to pay for health care, even if the point of that health is to protect other people from you.


In the US it costs $3,500 or more to get tested.


send the bill to china


More treasuries to sell, more debt to pile up...


> more debt to pile up...

So, lets pile up bodies instead?


There's no cure. Bodies will pile up regardless.


> There's no cure. Bodies will pile up regardless.

There's not cure, but there is treatment. Many deaths will be avoidable if we can slow down the spread, to spread out the load to avoid overwhelming the medical system too much.


We're already slowing down the spread. The country is pretty much shut down. And you aren't going to be able to test ~60 _million_ people who will ultimately be infected with this (using 2009 H1N1 estimates). This is not an excuse to the utter CDC/FDA incompetence/sabotage we're witnessing, it's just a statement of fact. We're in the uncharted waters with this, countermeasures of even the _current_ magnitude have never been applied before.


> The country is pretty much shut down.

No, it isn't yet. I'm in the office right now, with thousands of my colleagues.

> And you aren't going to be able to test ~60 _million_ people who will ultimately be infected with this

Maybe not, but you don't want to discourage people from getting tested now. Getting a positive test is an important cue to take extra stringent isolation measures.

Aggressive testing helps reduce the need for stringent, general measures like lockdowns:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-respon...


In response to a massive crisis is the perfect time to spend without worrying about debt. What doesn't make sense are the trillion dollar deficits over the last few years of a booming economy to pay for Trump's tax cuts.


There is a lot of FUD currently going on. This podcast by Joe Rogan is great. Listen to an expert and then make your decisions.

Here is the bio of the guy he interviews. Since Joe Rogan isn’t a “reliable” source.

Michael Osterholm is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. He is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota.

http://podcasts.joerogan.net/podcasts/michael-osterholm


I don't have time to listen to a Podcast. Can you summarize?

I've read a hell of a lot around this recently and if his conclusion is anything other than "this is an epoch changing event that requires massive, immediate change in our behaviour" then I suspect I'll disagree.

(sorry if I'm jumping to conclusions but there's a lot of people saying we shouldn't be worried and they are dangerous)


This is a 15-min portion from the complete hour and a half version, if that helps

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZFhjMQrVts

Not here to state an opinion about Joe Rogan one way or the other, but listening to an expert who has thought about crises like these and dealt with other epidemics can be helpful.


> "this is an epoch changing event that requires massive, immediate change in our behaviour"

What change in what behaviour?



That looks like an automated transcription that's almost entirely unreadable nonsense. Maybe not the best thing to be recommending to people who are looking for easily-digestable information.


That pretty much is the message of the podcast. Along with "it is scary but don't freak out".

Its a good podcast with good information but the guy is mostly on because Rogan has a huge audience.


> There is a lot of FUD currently going on. This podcast by Joe Rogan is great. Listen to an expert and then make your decisions.

Joe Rogan podcasts are approximately forty hours long, on average. You need to summarize it, with text.


You understand that most people are going to laugh at the suggestion of paying attention to Joe Rogan right now right.


It is not Joe Rogan, but the person he is talking to - Michael Osterholm (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Osterholm), that is of interest in that podcast.


In times of crisis we need to hear from Ja Rule.


I've been thinking about that bit regularly in the past couple of days. "I want some answers that Ja Rule might not have right now."


Why is that?


Some people can't get over Rogan having certain guests on. It is an opinion based ideology.




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