May 3, 2020 - Health

Cuomo announces 7-state consortium for buying PPE

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware are forming a regional consortium to reduce competition when purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Why it matters: Cuomo and other governors have long complained that competition between states, private businesses and the federal government for critical coronavirus supplies has needlessly driven up prices in a time of emergency.

What he's saying: "The federal government was trying to buy it. I'm bidding on behalf of New York, we're bidding against other states — Texas, California, other states across the country trying to buy the same masks from the same vendor," he said. "We literally wound up bidding up the price."

  • Cuomo said New York alone has purchased $2 billion in medical equipment and supplies so far this year, and he denounced the system as "totally inefficient and ineffective."
  • "We're going to form a consortium with our seven Northeast partner states, which buy about $5 billion worth of equipment and supplies. That will then increase our market power when we're buying."
  • Cuomo said the consortium "will make us more competitive in the international marketplace, and I believe it will save taxpayers money. I also believe it will help us actually get the equipment because we have trouble still getting the equipment."

The big picture: New York has continued to see declining coronavirus cases and deaths since passing the peak of its outbreak, but Cuomo warned against complacency. The state reported 280 deaths over the last 24 hours, marking a slight drop from Saturday and the continuation of a downward trend.

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