Psaki: COVID nursing home policy by health dept. nominee ‘does not sound’ like Cuomo scandal

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Psaki: COVID nursing home policy by health dept. nominee ‘does not sound’ like Cuomo scandal

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday claimed controversy over Pennsylvania forcing nursing homes to take COVID-19-positiv

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday claimed controversy over Pennsylvania forcing nursing homes to take COVID-19-positive patients “does not sound at all” like the nursing-home admissions scandal facing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A reporter asked Psaki during her daily briefing about the March 18, 2020 rule by then-Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine — who is now President Biden’s nominee to be assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services — comparing it to a widely-panned March 25 rule in New York that also barred nursing homes from turning away coronavirus-positive patients.

“This is the same scandal that Cuomo is facing in New York… why does your administration feel that Rachel Levine should get a pass on this and get such a high official position at the Health and Human Services department?” asked Emerald Robinson of Newsmax.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at a press briefing in the White House on March 22, 2021.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at a press briefing in the White House on March 22, 2021.
Andrew Harrerr/Pool/EPA

Psaki initially rejected the comparison, saying, “I’d have to look into more specifics of the detail here because it does not sound at all to me like the similar — that her scenario is similar to the scenario in New York. But we’ll follow up with you if we have more to offer.”

The Keystone State nursing home order was approved by Levine’s office and Republicans have accused officials there of culpability akin to Cuomo.

The Empire state governor has faced allegations that his order fueled the high virus death toll in nursing homes in New York.

Cuomo is of course facing more than one scandal — including sexual harassment claims and a reported federal investigation into allegations the state covered up the true number of deaths in nursing homes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking at a vaccination site in Mount Vernon, New York on March 22, 2021.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking at a vaccination site in Mount Vernon, New York on March 22, 2021.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool

President Biden has not called Cuomo to resign — unlike most of New York’s congressional delegation — but said in an ABC News interview last week that the governor should step down if an investigation run by New York Democratic Attorney General Letitia James’s office confirms the claims are accurate.

“Yes, I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted too,”  Biden said.

Democrats began to break with Cuomo last month following the admission from his top aide Melissa DeRosa — first reported by The Post — that Cuomo’s team hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths so that it could not “be used against us” by federal prosecutors, which could amount to a crime.

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