The Cost of a Quick Deal
During an emergency, certain rules and regulations are relaxed in the office of the Governor in dealing with the emergency. The idea is that it is an emergency, and that they need the ability to move quickly. Minutes matter when dealing with disasters, and Covid-19 is a disaster. However, there is a difference between moving quickly, and making rash decisions.
In March, Utah purchased 20,000 packets or $800,000.00 worth of hydroxychloroquine, a drug with no proven benefit to those ill with Covid-19. While the purchase was later reversed, it showed how problematic it is to remove checks and balances from the government, even in an emergency. The drug was purchased from Meds in Motion, a pharmacy that belongs to Dan Richards who had been working with government officials in trying to convince them that the drug would become hard to get, and that it was helpful in fighting the disease. Unfortunately, officials went ahead with the order, and were prepared to purchase much millions more. However, once the purchase hit the news, it was all quickly undone.
Additionally, the state also spent $2.75 million to have the company Twenty build a contact tracing app, putting aside both Google’s and Apple’s solutions. Days after signing the contract with Twenty, the Governor’s office was approached and offered an app very similar to the one they had purchased for $2.75 million, but for free. While the app lacked a survey feature they were hoping to use, it had other features that Twenty’s app lacked, and the cost difference was stark.
The United Utah Party believes in good governance. Good governance doesn’t just mean we want to see the government follow the laws, but it also means we hope to see the government do the right thing, even when the laws don’t make them. Right now, as the government works under a state of emergency, there will be some decisions that will need to be urgent, and they should make those decisions quickly. And there will be other decisions that they should stop and scrutinize a little more before jumping in with both feet. When purchasing a drug that hasn’t been proven, there should be enough warning signs there that we should stop and consider whether we are throwing our money away. When purchasing an experimental app that will cost millions, we should get the word out and get bids and see who comes up with the best product for the cheapest price. Just because we can move fast, doesn’t mean we always should. Move fast towards the tried and true solutions. Take caution when heading towards uncertain answers.