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Gov. Baker Asks President Not To Outbid States On COVID-19 Supplies

Gov. Charlier Baker talks at a press conference at the State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Gov. Charlier Baker talks at a press conference at the State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

It was Gov. Charlie Baker's turn to speak to President Trump during a governor's conference call Thursday. Baker wanted to know why Massachusetts was outbid for COVID-19 supplies by the federal government.

"We took seriously the push you made not to rely on the stockpile," Baker said. "I got to tell you we lost to the feds ... If states are doing what the feds want and trying to create their own supply chain, then people should be responsive. I've got a feeling that if somebody has a chance to sell to you or to me, I'm going to lose every one of those."

"Price is always a component," Trump said. "Maybe that's why you lost to the feds."

Vice President Mike Pence told Baker that more equipment would become available as private businesses respond.

On Monday, President Trump said states should try to purchase their own supplies of protective equipment and they might be able to get them faster.

It's not clear exactly what supplies Baker was talking about in his question to the president. Health care providers across Massachusetts have complained that a lack of supplies — particularly testing kits and personal protective equipment — is hampering their ability to deal with the pandemic.

A statement from Baker's Communications Director Lizzy Guyton says: "Through our Command Center, the Administration has, and expect to, receive more materials from the national stockpile and is working to secure more materials through other vendors. The Administration has made clear to the federal government that Massachusetts will need more supplies as more testing is done and more patients seek medical care for the Coronavirus. The National Governors Association has identified access to the supply chain as a top priority for all states."

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Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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