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A Failing Grade




A year out, the Biden administration’s health policy agenda is on life support, both with its Covid response and overall agenda.

While there are many externalities that Washington can’t control, the main failures are mis-management, politicization, and pushing ideas far outside the mainstream.

Paul Mango, who has written a book about the Trump administration’s widely-praised Operation Warp Speed effort, wrote about the Biden administration’s failure to build on the lessons of success:

“For the team that pledged to ‘shut down the virus’ in its first 100 days, the numbers are grim,” Mango writes. “Cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 under this administration in its first year far exceeded those generated during the year in which the Trump administration grappled with it. 

“This, when the Biden folks had the benefit of the Trump vaccines and therapeutics developed under Operation Warp Speed and much greater knowledge about the characteristics of the virus, how it impacted individuals in various demographic and health status categories, how it spread and how Americans would respond to a variety of mandates, economic dislocations and messages,” Mango writes for The Washington Times in “Hubris, myopia and inertia: The anatomy of Biden’s failed COVID-19 strategy.”

“But,” he continues, “the impact of the Biden strategy goes beyond increases in cases and deaths to include other public health externalities closely correlated with an excessive response to COVID-19: record drug overdose deaths, increases in teen suicides, stunted primary and secondary school education and advances in disease severity resulting from deferred care [and] we have not even produced enough $5 antigen tests to satisfy the basic demands of the American people.”

Galen Senior Fellow Doug Badger assesses the Centers for Disease Control’s whiplash recommendations in The Federalist, “The CDC Has Destroyed Public Trust By Pushing Obvious Falsehoods.”

Badger reports on those “who have followed—or tried to follow—CDC’s shifting and often poorly evidenced guidance. 

“They wore gloves when CDC told them to wear gloves, ditched the gloves and donned cloth masks when told they warded off viruses, cleansed their food with Clorox wipes and their hands with Purell, locked themselves and their families in their homes, got ‘fully vaccinated’ with two jabs, and then a third when told that two weren’t enough, strapped masks on their two-year-olds, and got their kids vaxxed, double-vaxxed, and triple-vaxxed.

“Then came Omicron…Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that the variant ‘will ultimately find just about everybody.’ President Biden conceded that ‘both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are testing positive.’”

Yet, the president continues to say “his political opponents are responsible for the pandemic,” Badger writes. “This divisiveness and the scars created by such language will linger long after the pandemic has run its course.”

Chris Holt of the American Action Forumtakes a broad view of the president’s health reform agenda and gives it a failing grade. 

“Biden campaigned for office on a platform that included a public health insurance option (that would be ‘like Medicare’), lowering the Medicare eligibility age, enacting prescription drug pricing reforms, and ending the COVID-19 pandemic. As president, he hasn’t come close to delivering on any of these objectives,” Holt writes.

The reason, Kim Strassel of The Wall Street Journal writes, is the administration’s ideas. “What Ails the Biden Presidency? The problem isn’t bad ‘messaging,’ Covid or inflation. It’s the Democrats’ bad ideas.”

She writes that after his news conference on Wednesday, it appears that, “If anything, Mr. Biden is doubling down on the failure…

“Mr. Biden’s failure to seize on this moment for change could define the rest of his presidency. Covid will likely recede, but his policies will continue to stoke inflation and reduce real wages.”

While President Biden has a decades-long reputation of stubbornness, the future of his presidency may rest on his ability to learn from failures and reset his agenda to one more in sync with the values of the majority of Americans and addressing the very real problems the nation faces.


Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute.