GOP Seeks to Dial Back Public Health’s Power

Republican lawmakers in the US are launching a flurry of legislative actions to curb the power of state governors who drew on general emergency powers to protect public health during the pandemic. 

Their goal is to limit executive actions in emergencies and enshrine certain religious exemptions, The Washington Post reports.
 
Test cases: 

  • Ohio’s legislature overrode its governor’s veto of a bill giving lawmakers the power to rescind executive actions taken by the governor or state health authorities.
  • Tennessee legislators have zeroed in on a 1987 law that allows clinicians to sometimes circumvent parental consent—including giving vaccines to adolescents in some cases.


Point: It isn’t about ideology—but rather to “inject a little bit of accountability into the system,” said Jonathon Hauenschild, of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.
 
Counterpoint: It’s a “worrisome trend that will leave the country ill-equipped to counter the resurgent coronavirus and a future, unknown outbreak, tweeted Carlos del Rio of Emory University School of Medicine.

Cause for hope: Prominent conservative personalities are backpedaling on their vaccine skepticism—like conservative talk radio show host Phil Valentine, who questioned the need for vaccines on the air, according to another Washington Post piece.
 
Now hospitalized with COVID-19, Valentine “regrets not being more vehemently pro-vaccine,” according to his family.


Related:

Tennessee to restart nearly all vaccine outreach paused amid GOP pressure, says health commissioner – The Tennessean
 
Why vaccinated America can't turn its back on unvaccinated – Axios
 
The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online – The New York Times

Breaking: Doctors, nurses and other health groups call for mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for all health workers – The Washington Post

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