White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to mock the idea of free home COVID testing during a grueling exchange with a reporter at Monday’s daily press conference.
National Public Radio’s Mara Liasson asked Psaki why the US government has not made COVID testing free and available everywhere – a policy supported by many experts, and which is the norm in the UK and several other countries .
Psaki scoffed at the idea, as she tried to defend the Biden administration’s approach:
Jen Psaki asks reporter somewhat mockingly at daily White House press briefing if US should send quickly # COVID-19[FEMALE[FEMININE tests at each household.
In UK you can order 1 pack (containing 7 tests) per day. https://t.co/ErnSsiLxxl pic.twitter.com/L7ruKWdy5n
– Matt Karolian (@mkarolian) December 6, 2021
Some observers, including Emily Oster, professor of economics at Brown University, were shocked by Psaki’s offhand response:
I am appalled by this answer, in part because of the tone. But it also suggests that no one is talking about doing this – free and widely available testing – even though many other countries are doing it. I just do not get it. https://t.co/BXJ3xJhczJ
– ProfEmilyOster (@ProfEmilyOster) December 7, 2021
Epidemiologist Michael Mina called Psaki’s response an “SNL parody of the last two years of my life”:
Can’t believe this isn’t an SNL parody of the last two years of my life.
Yes @jrpsaki we want the tests to literally be delivered to every house in the mail. https://t.co/ENPCyuK7Q4
– Michael Mina (@michaelmina_lab) December 7, 2021
The Biden administration recently announced a plan to provide free home coronavirus tests available to the uninsured, but the insured will have to pay for them through private insurance policies, which ironically could make them more dear, because the New York Times recently noted.
After nearly a year in office, the Biden administration neglected testing, focusing instead on vaccine rollouts. Ironically, Biden focused on the testing issue during the 2020 presidential campaign, making it “a major campaign issue,” the Times noted at the time. In Biden’s coronavirus policy, he said: “We have now been in this crisis for several months, and this administration refuses to admit the original sin of its failed response – the failure of the tests.”
The Trump administration’s first tests failed due to a “technical glitch” and the fact that the federal bureaucracy traditionally reserved the development of new tests for themselves, rather than letting the private sector take the lead. Dr Anthony Fauci said at the time that it was not Trump’s fault that the first tests had failed.
The United States quickly overtook other countries and performed more testing than any other country, although free and rapid home testing is still not available.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent eBook Ni Free ni Fair: The 2020 US Presidential Election. His latest book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni scholarship recipient. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.