A new report from the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform found that the Trump Administration repeatedly delayed an Obama-era order from the health-technology company Philips for 10,000 ventilators, wasting half-a-billion dollars for machines that won’t even arrive until September 2022.
According to the report, in 2014, the Obama Administration signed a contract with Philips to add 10,000 ventilators to the nation’s stockpile by June 2019. Though Philips delayed the fulfillment until November 2019, had they been held to that deadline, the nation would have had plenty of ventilators for when the coronavirus epidemic started in March 2020.
However, the Trump Administration granted Philips three extensions.
“On January 21, 2020, when the first coronavirus case was reported in the United States,” the report states, “Philips approached the Trump Administration about accelerating the delivery of ventilators under its existing contract. The Trump Administration ignored this opportunity, and for six weeks, it did not respond to Philips’ offer.”
When Peter Navarro — Assistant to the President, Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy — and other senior officials in the White House negotiated a new contract with Philips, they ended up scrapping the Obama-era terms and agreed to pay almost five-times the price set under those terms.
While Philips had sold ventilators to other purchasers for prices as low as $9,327 per unit, the Trump Administration ended up paying $50,000 per unit.
The ventilators may arrive after a vaccine for the illness does. In the meanwhile, the U.S. has surpassed over 156,000 coronavirus deaths.
This revelation comes just a day after Vanity Fair revealed that the Trump White House scrapped a national testing plan for the epidemic, thinking that coronavirus would mostly kill of blue states voters and the administration could then blame Democratic governors for it.