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Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP
Seven northeastern states will work together to buy medical equipment and coronavirus testing supplies, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.
"The consortium, I think, will help us get the equipment and get it at a better price," Cuomo said, comparing it to the current system where states are bidding against each other.
The Regional State Purchasing Consortium includes New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island.
The seven states spend about $5 billion per year on medical equipment and supplies, Cuomo said.
Seven states in the northeastern US are banding together to buy medical equipment and testing they need to fight the coronavirus.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the consortium Sunday, saying the seven states combine to spend about $5 billion per year on medical equipment and supplies. By combining their purchases, the participating states hope to better compete in the international market for medical supplies at better prices, Cuomo said.
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In the absence of a coordinated federal government purchasing effort, the states have largely been on their own in attempting to track down and buy this equipment. Many governors have commented that they feel like they are bidding against each other.
New York, for instance, has paid as much as 15 to 20 times the usual price for routine medical gear like masks and gloves, ProPublica reporters Lydia DePillis and Lisa Song found.
New York is the largest state of the group, accounting for about $2 billion in annual spending on medical supplies, Cuomo said. The six other participating states in the Regional State Purchasing Consortium are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island.
"The consortium, I think, will help us get the equipment and get it at a better price," Cuomo said, adding it will focus on buying personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, medical equipment, and coronavirus tests.
The consortium will aim to better prepare for future outbreaks, including trying to buy more from American vendors instead of China.
"I'm afraid this is still just beginning," Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said. "We are planning for the next round of this, if there is a next round, making sure we control our own destiny going forward and we do it much better together."
The group is also looking to establish sufficient testing capacity for the virus, which is widely seen as a critical element on the path to reopening the economy.
"Part of this is testing, it's not just equipment," said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. "We really need to work together to build the capacity to test, or we're not going to be able to give our citizens the confidence they need to go back to work. They're not going to have the confidence to go back to school, or back to the store, or back to worship."