|Trump’s Coronavirus Travel Ban Makes Sense — Here’s Why
“In dealing with pandemics, top priorities have to be limiting the spread of the disease and protecting our most vulnerable populations. Social distancing—that is, limiting the contact between people who are shedding the virus and others—is critical to achieving both goals. And that’s where travel bans have a role to play,” James Jay Carafano writes.
Simply put, it is hard to empty the bathtub while the water’s running. American businesses, organizations and governments are taking unprecedented steps to drain the tub — from shutting down classrooms to barring fans from sporting events to raining on St. Patrick’s Day parades. At a time when we’re voluntarily disrupting our day-to-day lives to contain the disease, it makes no sense to risk importing more contagion from abroad.
Why Europe? First, let’s be clear about what “Europe” means in this instance.
The president’s ban is for the “Schengen Zone” — not “Europe,” not the “European Union.” The Schengen Zone is a grouping of European countries that don’t require passports or border controls to move from one to another. Ireland, for example, is in the European Union but not part of the Schengen Zone, so the ban does not apply to the Irish. The United Kingdom is in neither the European Union nor the Schengen Zone, so it, too, does not fall under the ban. Meanwhile, Iceland, though not part of the European Union, is part of Schengen, so it is covered by the ban.
We know that travel bans can effectively retard the advance of pandemics. Early on, the U.S. wisely restricted travel from China and other countries experiencing large outbreaks of COVD-19. That significantly delayed the arrival of the disease here, allowing the U.S. to get through the bulk of the flu season without a serious outbreak.
European nations, on the other hand, imposed no travel bans. They wound up importing a lot of sick people. Italy, with its significant migrant Chinese population, has been hit particularly hard. No doubt some who went home to celebrate the Chinese New Year, returned with the disease.
Italy and other Schengen Zone nations now have travel restrictions in place, but COVID-19 is no longer just “a Chinese disease.” It’s now on a European tour.
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|Trump Coronavirus Response Will Protect America’s Economy, Workers and Businesses
“President Trump addressed the nation Wednesday night and unveiled a two-pronged program of health and economic actions to deal with the coronavirus pandemic,” Andy Puzder writes. “The president’s action plan should win bipartisan support to respond to the most serious health and humanitarian crisis our nation has faced in my nearly seven decades.”
“We are all in this together,” the president correctly said. “We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship.” He called on America to fight the pandemic “together as one nation and one family.”
We can only hope that those on both sides of the political aisle will heed his call to respond as one nation and one people, as our leaders have done so often in our past when facing a crisis.
While the coronavirus pandemic is a medical crisis, President Trump pointed out that it “is not a financial crisis.”
That’s a crucial point we should all remember. This pandemic is unlike the savings and loan crisis of the late 1970s, the tech bubble in the late 1990s, or the real estate bubble of 2007. Our nation’s economic fundamentals are strong.
There is no underlying economic fault that must be corrected before our economy can recover. As the president noted, “our banks and financial institutions are fully capitalized and incredibly strong.”
Unemployment is consistently at 50-year lows and we have 1 million more job openings than people unemployed. The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecasting model is projecting 3.1 percent gross domestic product growth for the first quarter of this year, with only three weeks left in the quarter.
When the coronavirus pandemic subsides – and it will – our economy and the financial markets will come roaring back.
🇺🇸 President Trump: “We are all in this together”
|150,000 Immigrants From 72 Nations With Coronavirus Stopped at Border
“Some 150,000 illegal immigrants from 72 nations with cases of the coronavirus have been apprehended or deemed inadmissible from entering the United States since November,” Paul Bedard reports. These apprehensions underscore the need for proper vetting and a safe legal immigration system as opposed to open-border policies.
The administration has been bracing for a federal court decision that would junk its “remain in Mexico” policy and open the doors on the southwest border. But the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday put that on hold as legal arguments on both sides continue in the liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which oversees Arizona and California.
“The border/immigration situation has taken on a whole new dynamic; it’s a public health threat,” said an official.
Secrets recently reported that 328 Chinese immigrants had been seized illegally crossing the border since the virus outbreak began in China.
So far, 150,958 immigrants from 72 nations with the virus have been stopped at the border. DHS has sought to return, repatriate, and remove as many as possible.
What’s more, another 43,000 from Latin nations including Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Nicaragua — nations that haven’t reported the virus — have been turned away to wait.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said last week none of the immigrants stopped by agents showed signs of the virus.
The administration has been making the case that continuing the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols that keep immigrants in Mexico pending approval to come into the U.S. to seek asylum is both an important national security and health security issue.
“MPP is all the more critical to keep Americans safe and healthy, which can only be accomplished through lawful and orderly migration,” said an official.
Another said, “We have a unique public health threat posed by individuals arriving unlawfully at the border, where migrants, law enforcement officials, frontline personnel, and the American public are put at risk. All it would take is a single infected individual to impact the detained migrant community within DHS facilities. Without proper precautions, which can only happen through orderly, lawful migration, the virus threatens to spread rapidly. Any halting of MPP would exacerbate this threat.”
Should the policy be lifted, holding stations run by the Department of Homeland Security would immediately fill up, and, there is the potential that the spillover would have to be shipped to facilities around the country.
“Overcrowding at DHS facilities can lead to increased cases of easily communicable diseases other than COVID-19, such as measles, mumps, chicken pox, and the flu,” warned an official.
The department also said that there are several factors raising the potential of a virus crisis at the border:
- Sheer volume of migrants.
- Nationalities represented at the border from coronavirus-affected countries.
- Unique health dangers of journey to the border.
- Crowded conditions of DHS border facilities.
- Strain on healthcare system.
🏗 Progress: “New border wall blocks 90% of illegal crossings, up from just 10%”
|Pence: Major Health Insurers Have Agreed to Waive Copays for Coronavirus Tests
–The Hill/The Guardian
“Vice President Pence said Tuesday that a group of major health insurance companies have agreed not to charge patients copays when they get tested for coronavirus,” Peter Sullivan reports. Alongside President Trump, “Pence made the comments at a meeting at the White House with the CEOs of major health insurance companies.”
“I’m pleased to report that as you requested, Mr. President, that all the insurance companies here, either today, or before today, have agreed to waive all copays on coronavirus testing, and extend coverage for coronavirus treatment in all of their benefit plans,” Pence said while seated next to President Trump and the insurance CEOs.
Pence said the companies gathered represent almost 240 million Americans.
The leaders of major health insurers, including UnitedHealth Group, Anthem, Cigna, Humana, Aetna and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association were at the meeting, according to the White House.
Pence said the insurers had agreed to cover telemedicine to allow people to speak to their doctors remotely about the coronavirus. He also said they had agreed to “no surprise billing.”
The details of those announcements were not immediately clear.
“We all have the same commitment to making sure that cost is not a barrier to people getting tested and treated,” said Matt Eyles, CEO of the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, in the meeting.
|Trump Administration Takes Action to Make Portable Electronic Health Records a Reality
“For many Americans, collecting and navigating their own health care records is a frustrating, time-consuming burden that leads to lower quality and higher costs,” write Jared Kushner, Seema Verma, and Dr. Don Rucker. “The Trump administration is now taking action to ensure that every American has secure access to their own health records.”
First, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is implementing provisions from the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act that will lead to transformative reforms in the ways that patients can access and control their own health care information. Patients will be able to use smartphones and modern software apps to securely access and consolidate medical information from different health care providers, and entrepreneurs can develop apps tailored to patients’ medical conditions and specific needs. Second, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are requiring that all health plans doing business in Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and Federal exchanges ensure patients have safe and secure access to their health data. Taken together, these reforms will deliver on the promise to put patients at their center of their own health care — you are empowered with control over your own health care choices.
In the best traditions of our country, this effort has unified a diverse array of stakeholders who do not always agree, yet who stand together in strong support of these important reforms. Representative figures from our nation’s top health care experts and executives, leading clinicians and researchers developing cures for diseases, startup entrepreneurs looking for the next great innovation, and — most importantly — from patients all across our country who want greater access and control over their own health care have all voiced their support for these important reforms.
Working together, we are unleashing the next generation of health care innovation, resulting in a more intuitive, convenient and secure experience that puts patients in control, leading to more competition, higher quality care and lower health care costs.