News & Politics

Is This the Reason Cuomo Gave Immunity to Nursing Homes?

Is This the Reason Cuomo Gave Immunity to Nursing Homes?
Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo received a $1 million donation just before Election Day in 2018 from a big healthcare group that included nursing homes and hospitals.

Last month, Cuomo signed into law a bill that would give immunity to hospitals and nursing homes from lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus.

The donation and favorable legislation are not surprising. But given Cuomo’s disastrous policy regarding coronavirus patients being moved into nursing homes, causing thousands of deaths, the granting of immunity to a favored campaign contributor might be construed as a quid pro quo.


Critics say Cuomo removed a key deterrent against nursing home and hospital corporations cutting corners in ways that jeopardize lives. As those critics now try to repeal the provision during this final week of Albany’s legislative session, they assert that data prove such immunity is correlating to higher nursing home death rates during the pandemic – both in New York and in other states enacting similar immunity policies.

New York has become one of the globe’s major pandemic hotspots – and the center of the state’s outbreak has been nursing homes, where more than 5,000 New Yorkers have died, according to Associated Press data.

That’s not the only favor Cuomo granted the healthcare industry.

Those deaths have occurred as Cuomo’s critics say he has taken a hands-off approach to regulating the healthcare industry interests that helped bankroll his election campaign. In March, Cuomo’s administration issued an order that allowed nursing homes to readmit sick patients without testing them for Covid-19. Amid allegations of undercounted casualties, the governor also pushed back against pressure to have state regulators more stringently record and report death rates in nursing homes.

And then came Cuomo’s annual budget – which included a little-noticed passage shielding corporate officials who run New York hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities from liability for Covid-related deaths and injuries.

At the beginning of May, with Joe Biden faltering and the Democrats getting desperate, a mini-boomlet began to “draft” Cuomo as the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer. CNN’s Chris Cillizza said he was “the most popular politician in America.”

Thrust into the national spotlight by his state’s status as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has rapidly become one of — if not the — single most popular politician in the country for his handling of the pandemic.

Cuomo’s poll numbers are, literally, unbelievable. A new Siena College poll released this week showed Cuomo’s overall favorability among New Yorkers at 77% while 71% approved of the job he is doing for the state. Asked who they trusted more to make the right decision about when to reopen New York, 78% chose Cuomo while 16% opted for President Donald Trump.

Danielle Campoamor wrote on CNN that, next to Trump’s “incompetence,” Cuomo’s handling of the crisis was brilliant.

When compared to Trump, Cuomo certainly does appear to be “doing it all” for the city and state of New York. And as a leader who has the courage to take responsibility and the blame for the ramifications of shutting down the state, he is a vastly better leader compared to a feckless President who refuses to take any responsibility for the extensive loss of life occurring under his watch.

But that’s the problem with putting an incompetent reality TV host in the White House: After four years of gross incompetence and blatant ineptitude, we’ve come to simply be grateful for any kind of consistent and capable leadership we do receive, instead of demanding the kind of leadership we deserve.

Cuomo fell off his pedestal rather quickly. His panicked cries for 30,000 ventilators — and then whining that Trump wouldn’t help him because he hates New York — proved to be without foundation and the nursing home disaster exposed the governor as an incompetent fool.

Cuomo’s quid pro quo with the healthcare industry is only the latest evidence that the governor is just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill New York politician trading cash for favors.

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