On April 20, the Michigan House Republican leadership released what they call the “Comeback Roadmap” for re-opening Michigan safely.
First, the good news.
- After standing by for weeks where they did nothing except enable Governor Whitmer’s abuse of our civil rights when they granted her “Emergency Powers”, the MI House Republican Leadership actually put together a proposal of their own.
- The proposal includes some semblance of a logical, problem-solving framework
- The proposal includes phased implementation
- The proposal calls for important data to be collected in support of decisions including: Hospital admission rates, rate of spread, positive tests relative to total tests, reported deaths, percentage growth in positive cases, rate of ICU patients being placed on ventilators, and immunity rate
- The proposal demonstrates a significant degree of alignment with both the Senate and Governor Whitmer’s “Stay-at-home” order indicating that the Senate, House, and Governor’s office appear to be approaching the situation in a unified manner.
Now, the bad news.
- The proposal demonstrates a significant degree of alignment with both the Senate and Governor Whitmer’s “Stay-at-home” order indicating that the Senate, House, and Governor’s office appear to be approaching the situation in a unified manner. Mind you, I appreciate the need for the House, the Senate and the Governor’s office to work together. I simply find it disheartening that they would choose to unify behind a response that blatantly ignores basic constitutional rights. In fact, the House Plan expresses explicit support for the egregious Executive Order 2020-42.
- The word “constitution” is not mentioned ONCE in the proposal. It is disgraceful to note how swiftly basic constitutional rights which have been bought at a dear price by our service men and women are so casually dismissed. The proposal continues the egregious infringement of our rights under Article I Sections 1 thru 4 of our Michigan Constitution.
- In the proposal, significant decision-making authority is delegated by elected representatives to un-elected representatives ostensibly giving elected officials plausible deniability for any controversial actions taken by the un-elected representatives. Furthermore, these un-elected representatives are not bound by an oath compelling them to support the Michigan and U.S. Constitution.
- The un-elected DHHS Director is given explicit authority to determine whether or not any Tier 2 or Tier 3 county can be reassigned as a Tier 1 county
- The “Transition Task Force” is given explicit authority to specify which “sectors or subsectors of industry are not deemed safe”. Businesses falling into this category would be “prohibited from opening to the public beyond remote and curbside sales with enhanced safety procedures”
- The proposal continues the ban on elective healthcare procedures at a time when healthcare workers are being laid off at an alarming rate…in the middle of a healthcare crisis.
- The proposal promotes contact tracing without mention of constitutional personal privacy protections. Some governments have used the disease to justify tracking the movement and personal interactions of people via cell phone data without their permission.
- The proposal does not address supply chain issues that have been used as the excuse for the “stay at home” order in the interest of “flattening the curve”. While the county closure criteria devotes significant attention to healthcare system capacity, the roadmap does not include provisions to increase our healthcare system capacity only manage the situation within the constraints of our current capacity. The most obvious path to improving our capacity to deliver healthcare services would be to permanently rescind Certificate of Need. This statute was put in place by the government to artificially restrict the capacity of medical services in the state. Certificate of Need should be repealed if they are serious about preventing the “over taxing” our healthcare system. The proposal also does not address the need to stockpile PPE, treatments, and other critical supplies to mitigate risk of “over taxing” the healthcare system in future crises.
- The proposal continues the unprecedented practice of quarantining the healthy rather than focusing upon quarantining the sick.
- The proposal continues the arbitrary and capricious practice of picking industry winners and losers. All businesses should be treated equal. All businesses should be allowed to open subject to healthy practice guidelines applied equally to all businesses. Proposal extends arbitrary and capricious selection of industries to potential regulatory nightmare as each industry would potentially be subject to a growing number of regulations unique to their industry.
- It features provisions in conflict with one another. In one section, it states that the DHHS Director is given authority to determine whether or not any Tier 2 or Tier 3 county can be reassigned as a Tier 1 county. In another section, it states that the DHHS Director recommends assignments/reassignments of Tier designations for counties.
- Assignment of regulatory “Tiers” by region means that some counties will be under a different set of laws and privileges than other counties. We are all supposed to be united under the same constitution with the same constitutional protections for all of us.
During the French and Indian War, Benjamin Franklin kept the colonies united with his early “meme” of 13 colonies chopped into 13 parts compelling them to “Join or Die”. United we stand. Divided we fall.
The MI House Republican Leadership’s Comeback Roadmap Proposal is promoting not inhibiting Governor Whitmer’s “new normal” doctrine. In fact, the end state of the proposal, Step 3, is referred to as “Returning to the New Normal”. This “New Normal” doctrine attempts to supplant inalienable rights of individuals with rights and obligations dictated by government. If this doctrine is allowed to remain, the “fundamental transformation of America” sought by socialists like Barack Obama will have been achieved.
The truly sad part about the overall response by Republican leadership in the MI Senate and in the House is that they witnessed Governor Whitmer driving our beloved state under the influence of politics the first time they tossed her the keys to the Emergency Powers Act. Rather than rein her in, they threw her the keys yet again. The Comeback Roadmap Proposal issued by the MI House Republican Leadership gives me no confidence that they won’t throw her the keys yet again before May 1st.
As I often say, it is not fair nor is it productive to critique another’s proposal without providing a viable alternative. In this spirit, I would like to offer what I refer to as an Evidence-Driven Solution to COVID-19. I have provided this alternative in the form of a legislative resolution which, unlike the Comeback Proposal, could be put up for a vote immediately if there were the political will to do so.
Evidence-Driven Solution to COVID-19
Whereas Governor Whitmer’s response to the COVID-19 has been arbitrary and capricious regarding which businesses are allowed to remain open and which businesses are required to close
Whereas Governor Whitmer’s response to COVID-19 even includes restrictions on what items are available for sale to citizens and which are not within a business with has been allowed to remain open
Whereas more than twice the number of people have died of the flu than from COVID-19 yet the measures taken to address COVID-19 far exceed those taken as precautions against the flu
Whereas Governor Whitmer’s stay at home order was ostensibly justified on the basis of not overwhelming our hospital system due to limits on the number of beds and other medical equipment placed upon them by Michigan’s Certificate of Need law
Whereas the Governor’s directives have already effectively repealed provisions of Michigan’s current Certificate of Need law to remove government-imposed restrictions upon hospital beds and other medical equipment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Whereas the government of Sweden has kept their nation of 10.1 million people open for business yet has experienced less COVID-19 fatalities than Michigan with its population of 10 million people
Whereas the government of South Korea has kept their nation of 50 million people open for business yet has experienced significantly less COVID-19 fatalities than Michigan with its population of 10 million people
Whereas the Governor has issued Executive Orders threatening physicians with the removal of their license to practice medicine if they prescribe potentially life-saving treatments featuring Hydroxychloroquine
Whereas our citizens are being denied the ability to be tested for COVID-19 even after driving to designated “testing centers”
Whereas we still do not have statistically significant data regarding the spread of COVID-19. In particular, we do not know how many people have COVID-19 yet are asymptomatic thereby resulting in a potentially inflated infection rate and fatality rate. In addition, there is evidence that there are patients who die with flu-like symptoms whose cause of death is being classified as COVID-19 without any proof that such was the case thereby resulting in a potentially inflated fatality rate.
Resolved that the Governor be directed to release safety guidelines that respect our Constitution and which can be applied equally to all individuals and organizations within the state of Michigan without threat of penal action by government authorities
Resolved that the Governor be directed to respond to COVID-19 in a manner proportional to the measures taken to address other causes of death.
Resolved that the Governor’s safety guidelines include guidelines for the protection of others as well as measures that individuals can adopt to protect themselves
Resolved that the Governor and legislature will work with epidemiological experts to develop and deploy a plan for COVID-19 testing that yields a statistically significant measure of the infection rate and fatality rate for COVID-19 throughout the state of Michigan.
Resolved that the Governor and legislature work together at resolving supply chain issues related to the availability of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), test kits, promising treatments of symptomatic individuals such as Hydroxychloroquine plus Z-pack and Zinc, and promising prophylactic treatments such as Plaquenil.
Resolved that the Governor and legislature will work together to ensure that PPE, test kits, promising symptomatic treatments, and promising prophylactic treatments are made available to our citizens at little to no cost
Resolved that the Governor and legislature work together to mitigate our dependence on other entities and stockpile critical resources needed to effectively address future epidemics.
Resolved that the Governor and legislature will work to ensure that all testing data is made available to the public in an easily accessible manner and updated regularly
Resolved that the Governor and legislature work together to protect people of Michigan from future risk of overtaxing our healthcare system from future healthcare crises by permanently repealing Michigan’s Certificate of Need law.
Resolved that Michigan re-open its economy without arbitrary distinctions as to which businesses are authorized to open and which businesses must remain shut down.
Resolved that religion, morality and knowledge are essential to good governance and should be encouraged by re-opening of our schools in order to promote the education of our students.
Resolved that communications from the Governor’s office from this point forward will be absent of assertions designed to promote her political agenda and focus rather upon matters of importance to the people of Michigan such as where they can obtain tests, where they can obtain PPE, or where they can get treatment for COVID-19.