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Gov. Cuomo Says GOP ‘Playing politics’ Over NY Nursing Home COVID Deaths

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shifted the blame for the thousands of COVID-19 nursing home deaths in his state, saying that the Republicans are “playing politics” over it, in an interview with MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle on Monday.

Despite Cuomo’s denial, he did in fact order nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients in March, knowing that the elderly were one of the most at-risk populations. And, later, The Governor attempted to cover the order up, according to The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson who reported last month that the order was mysteriously deleted from the New York State Department of Health’s website.

“The Republicans, Stephanie, are playing politics. They don’t want to talk about how they are now handling this COVID virus,” Gov. Cuomo said.

He added, recognizing that thousands of parents’ and grandparents’ lives were lost in New York as a result of the policy, “Yes, I understand that. And there are facts, let’s look at the facts, right, rather than the political rhetoric. Yes, we had more people die in nursing homes than anywhere else because we had more people die.”

Gov. Cuomo then blamed the Federal government who “missed the boat and never told us that this virus was coming from Europe and not from China. And January, February, March before they did the European travel ban, 3 million people came from Europe and brought the virus to New York and the Federal government didn’t know and the Federal government and the CDC and all of them failed to handle this pandemic and warn this nation.”

“So New York had more cases, more deaths, and more deaths and more deaths in nursing homes because that’s who the virus affects,” Cuomo explained. “It affects senior citizens, we know that. You look at any state and they had a tremendous number of deaths in nursing homes. It’s all a political charade and it’s an ugly one, frankly to talk about a number of deaths and suggest there was politics added.”

Gov. Cuomo continued, saying that the number of cases of the virus “are still going up” in states like Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. “Look in the mirror and say ‘you know what, we were wrong, we’re killing people unnecessarily by this irresponsible, reckless reopening. And it’s not working for the economy either,” he said.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, along with several of his Republican colleagues, sent letters last week to Democratic governors, including Cuomo, who enacted the lethal policy, requesting that they provide answers as to why they evaded early warnings from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect the elderly.

“He says it’s just ‘politics.’ People lost parents & grandparents. That’s NOT just politics. You know a Democrat is in trouble when even MSNBC is calling them out,” Scalise wrote on Twitter Monday in response to Cuomo’s interview.

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Report: Denver area migrants cost $340 million to shelter, educate

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A report by the free-market Common Sense Institute found the more than 42,000 migrants who have arrived in Denver over the last year and a half have cost the region as much as $340 million. The city of Denver, local school districts, and the region’s health-care system have spent between $216 million and $340 million combined to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the migrants, and to provide them with emergency medical care.

National Review explains the report builds off a previous report from March that conservatively found that the migrants had cost the region at least $170 million. “Costs are never localized,” said DJ Summers, the institute’s research director. “They expand outward.”

Democratic leaders are being blamed for their welcoming posture toward immigrants generally, and their sanctuary-city policies, which curtail law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Since late December 2022, at least 42,269 migrants — or “newcomers” as Denver leaders call them — have arrived in the city, adds National Review.

The Common Sense Institute report found that the migrant crisis has also hit local emergency rooms hard with extensive expenses. Since December 2022, migrants have made more than 16,000 visits to metro emergency departments. At an estimated cost of about $3,000 per visit, that has resulted in nearly $48 million in uncompensated care.

Summers said those costs are “stressing existing health care organizations,” but they also indirectly hit residents in their pocketbooks through increased insurance prices.

Metro school districts have endured the biggest financial hit — estimated between $98 million and $222 million — according to the Common Sense Institute report. The large range in costs is due to the difficulties researchers had identifying exactly how many new foreign students are tied to the migrant crisis.

The researchers found that since December 2022, 15,725 foreign students have enrolled in local schools. Of those, 6,929 have come from the five countries most closely identified with the migrant crisis — Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On average, it costs a little over $14,000 to educate a student for a year in a Denver-area public school, but Summers said migrant students likely cost more.

“They have transportation needs that are different, they have acculturation needs that are going to be different, language assistance needs that are going to be different,” he said. “Many of them might need to get up to speed in curriculum. They might need outside tutoring.”

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers approved $24 million in state funding to help school districts statewide plug budget holes related to the migrant students.

Summers said the updated Common Sense Institute tally is likely still missing some costs related to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“There are definitely additional costs. We just don’t have a great way to measure them just yet,” he said, noting legal fees, crime, and unreported business and nonprofit expenses.

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