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PolitiFact Wisconsin looks at COVID-19 claims by local lawmakers

Posted at 7:16 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 20:16:39-05

A tweet about a key drug to treat people with COVID-19 and a claim about coronavirus help from Republican lawmakers caught the attention of PolitiFact Wisconsin this week. Here's how both claims played out on the Truth O Meter.

Republican lawmakers are back to work - drafting new COVID-19 legislation to address the surge in cases and deaths. Speaker Robin Vos has faced criticism for not doing more since April.

"Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says Wisconsin passed one of the first COVID-19 bills in the country which empowered Gov. Tony Evers to act," said Eric Litke with Politifact Wisconsin.

PolitiFact Wisconsin says those COVID-19 bills arrived on Gov. Evers' desk on April 15. By that time, more than 30 other states had passed more than 100 bills.

"This package did little to expand Evers authority in the pandemic," said Litke, "state statute had already empowered the governor to declare a public health emergencies, issue orders and distribute federal aid dollars."

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim False.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin raised concerns in a tweet about the cost of a new therapeutic drug to treat coronavirus.

"U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says American's are paying the highest price in the world for Remdesivir because the Trump Administration is allowing prices on the COVID treatment to be jacked up," said Litke.

PolitiFact Wisconsin says the price comparison is largely correct for people with private insurance. They are paying $520 a dose - while those on Medicare and Medicaid are paying $390 a dose.

There is a rarely used maneuver the federal government could use to step in and seize the patent from the drug maker - but otherwise, there's little the Trump Administration could do.

"Experts told us the government is not directly involved in pricing having set policies that limit its own ability to do that to do that," said Litke.

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim Half True.

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