New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday talked up the idea of a “consortium” among states across the country to collectively procure coronavirus-related goods if the federal government doesn’t step up as a supplier.
“The federal government is the purchaser-in-chief, strategist-in-chief — FEMA buys the equipment, distributes it to the states that need it, OK? That’s option A and I think that’s a viable option,” Mr. Cuomo said.
He said option B would involve states collaborating or colluding to buy pharmaceuticals and medical equipment without competing against each another.
“If the federal government doesn’t do it, then the states as a consortium, I would suggest, do it,” Mr. Cuomo said. “And let the states create a national consortium of states to do the purchasing in lieu of the federal government and then that consortium could work with each individual state.”
Mr. Cuomo is vice chair of the National Governors Association and will soon assume the post of chair. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan currently chairs the bipartisan group.
“It’s something I’m going to focus on and work on,” Mr. Cuomo said. “If the federal government’s not going to do it, then the states have to do it and they have to know that they have to do it.”
Mr. Cuomo and other governors have complained that they often find themselves in bidding wars both with other states and the federal government to try to procure vital supplies like ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic.