President Barack Obama signed an order last night declaring that the swine flu is a national emergency. This allows the implementation of emergency plans. So, what is an emergency plan?
For one thing, it is now possible to skip over parts of the federal regulatory process that slow things down. This may help in increasing the rate of production and delivery of vaccine or anti-virals. Also, hospitals and health departments have emergency plans that would now be implemented as needed.
A PDF version of the presidential proclamation is here. The text of the proclamation is here:
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 24, 2009
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Pursuant to section 201 of the National Emergencies Act
(50 U.S.C. 1621), I hereby report that I have exercised my authority to declare a national emergency in order to be prepared in the event of a rapid increase in illness across the Nation that may overburden health care resources. This declaration will allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services, if necessary, to temporarily waive certain standard Federal requirements in order to enable U.S. health care facilities to implement emergency operations plans to deal with the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in the United States. A copy of my proclamation is attached.
Further, I have authorized the Secretary of Health and Human
Services to exercise the authority under section 1135 of the Social Security Act to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule as necessary to respond to the pandemic throughout the duration of the public health emergency declared in response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 23, 2009.
The Replicans are going t have a field day with this. Obama has single handedly implemented the public option. Obama has socialized medicine. Obama has declared marshal law. And so on.
This should get interesting, as the Republicans scream and yell that responding to the flu is part of Obama’s Muslim Kenyan Anti-American plan, as kids continue to die of the flu. We will rename the “Swine Flu” the “Republican Flu” because they prefer to have the flu spread rather than contained.