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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defends veto of nursing home bill

Sen. Lucido, Whitmer clash over bill

LANSING, Mich. – More than 2,000 of the coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in Michigan have occurred in nursing homes.

That puts Michigan in, or near, the top 10 in the nation in nursing home fatalities. When Local 4 spoke with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer about it on Tuesday, she pushed back on the suggestion that Michigan handled the virus badly when it comes to nursing homes.

READ: Michigan governor vetoes nursing home bill calling it a ‘political game’

“I think I would challenge you on the statement you just made,” Whitmer said. “That is not the case. Our experience with nursing homes has been very similar with other states. In fact, we’re in a better position than a lot of other states.”

State Sen. Pete Lucido sees it quite differently.

“We haven’t done any better proportionately. We’ve done worse,” Lucido said.

He’s the one who brought forth the bill Whitmer vetoed. It would have required nursing homes that take in COVID-19 patients to have a separate building or facility to accommodate them.

In a very polarized time in Lansing, it was noteworthy that the bill had some Democratic support. Even though Whitmer described it as purely political.

“If you look at what happened in states that did precisely what this bill requires -- it was a catastrophe in a lot of places. And it’s why we didn’t do it here. We did look into it, we researched it,” Whitmer said.

Many have wondered about the temporary hospitals that were hustled together. Whitmer seemed to say that effort wasn’t worth much.

For example, the FCF Center. “Bathrooms were hundreds of yards away from where the beds were. That would never work in a care setting where you have seniors who are compromised and dealing with a number of vulnerabilities,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer has been steadfast in her answer to her critics that science is her only guide.

READ: More local news coverage


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