Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.
The coronavirus is undoubtedly a concern for many Vermonters, especially considering the virus has been confirmed to have spread to our state. Despite the wealth of misinformation being pushed for partisan purposes, the handling of this health crisis has been robust since its earliest stages.
All the way back in January, the president took immediate and decisive action by declaring a public health emergency, imposing reasonable travel restrictions (which other nations soon replicated), and formulated a task force to respond to the crisis. The Centers for Disease Control has been working closely with our nation’s leaders to coordinate prevention efforts.
Additionally, Congress and the president passed a law allocating more than $8 billion in emergency funding to support vaccine development, assist states with aid, and increase the overall health preparedness of the nation. Since that time, the CDC has been working to accelerate the production and distribution of testing kits at a remarkable rate.
Meanwhile, the president has worked to ease economic concerns by urging the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates to counter market instability, as well as proposing fiscal relief for Americans, including payroll tax cuts and support for hourly workers.
At the state level, the governor has formed a COVID-19 Task Force composed of health and emergency preparedness officials and has regularly updated the public (in conjunction with the Vermont Department of Health) on developments. The Governor also activated the State Emergency Operations Center to expand the capacity of the state to support the response to the virus.
At the same time, the governor’s administration has directed insurance providers in Vermont to cover medically necessary coronavirus testing without charging Vermont consumers out-of-pocket.
One thing is clear: the federal and state Republican executive branch leadership’s response to the coronavirus has been well-managed since the very beginning.