The coverup of ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deadly nursing-home pandemic policies continues as Albany’s legislative leaders are quashing a bipartisan measure to probe the scandal more fully.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) and Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Schenectady) accuse the Democrats who control both chambers of the Legislature of stalling their bill to create a five-member commission with subpoena power and a mandate to probe whatever policies contributed to “any increase in death rates of nursing home residents attributable to COVID-19.”
Tedisco believes the Dems are covering up Cuomo and for their roles in granting him broad emergency pandemic powers. Kim, who lost an uncle in a nursing home to COVID, says he keeps hearing excuses and that “we’re trying to move forward.”
He counters by citing the “need for accountability.” That’s what the survivors of every New Yorker lost in a nursing home during the pandemic want. Many finger the Cuomo order forcing homes to accept COVID-positive patients that hospitals wanted to discharge.
What might top legislative Democrats fear from a fair probe? Well, they granted Cuomo vast emergency authority as COVID hit, then took to shelter. Plus, they agreed to stealth passage of a measure giving nursing-home operators and health-care workers qualified immunity from civil and criminal culpability. Nina A. Kohn, an expert in elder law at Yale, told PolitiFact that law gave “a green light for facilities to understaff and underresource.”
New York needs the whole truth. If Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins keep blocking the bill, any legislator who doesn’t revolt is a part of the coverup.