Andrea Palm – HHS Deputy Secretary of Health
POSITION: HHS Deputy Secretary of Health
NOMINEE: Andrea Palm
EDUCATION: Cornell University (BS), Washington University (MSW)
FAMILY: Spouse: Dan Utech
EXPERIENCE: (January 2019 – Present) Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers nominated Andrea Palm to serve as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Her nomination stalled in the Wisconsin Legislature, with members citing Palms decision to name a former abortion-giant Planned Parenthood lobbyist as her deputy; (2009 – 2016) appointed deputy assistant United States Secretary of Health and Human Services for Legislation by President Barack Obama. Since the role of Assistant Secretary for Legislation was vacant, she served as Acting Assistant Secretary during that time. Palm then served as a policy advisor to the United States Domestic Policy Council at the White House. She rejoined the Department of Health and Human Services to serve as an advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health and Chief of Staff of the HHS. Health policy advisor to then-U.S. Senator, Hillary Clinton. Legislative assistant for California Congressman Bob Matsui.
Andrea Palm has no health care education or experience prior to joining HHS and had no connections to Wisconsin prior to being named Secretary of Health there. This lack of health care experience is on par with the HHS Secretary nominee Xavier Becerra
On Abortion-Giant Planned Parenthood
In 2019, Andrea Palm named a former lobbyist, Nicole Safar, for abortion-giant Planned Parenthood to be her assistant deputy secretary. The billion-dollar Planned Parenthood’s agenda in Wisconsin includes repealing Wisconsin laws requiring that only doctors, not qualified advanced practice nurses, perform abortions; women seeking medicine that causes abortions see the same doctor on two separate visits; and doctors be physically present when dispensing abortion-causing drugs.
Nicole Safar, an attorney, supervised Planned Parenthood’s legal team and oversaw two successful lawsuits challenging state laws limiting access to abortions, according to her online biography on the Department of Health Services website.
On Abortion as an “Essential Service”
31 Wisconsin Republican state lawmakers sent a letter to Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm demanding her immediate action to “ensure a halt to the operation of abortion facilities in Wisconsin for the duration of the declared public health emergency.” The letter states that “abortion clinics are continuing to operate in Wisconsin, needlessly exposing people to the potential to contract COVID-19 and using precious medical resources that are needed elsewhere to save Wisconsinites. It is deeply disturbing to find out that many lower risk businesses have been shuttered while you have given Wisconsin’s abortion clinics special dispensation to remain in operation.”
Andrea Palm refused to comply.
On COVID Response (With thanks to the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy)
On Overreaching Her Authority
Before Governor Evers’ Safer at Home order expired it was discovered that Governor Evers did not have the authority to issue the order for more than 60 days without the legislature’s approval. Andrea Palm falsely claimed that she did. She issued Emergency Order #31 to close the state indefinitely. The legislature sued her and won.
She had planned to keep the state closed until a vaccine was discovered until the state Supreme Court stepped in.
And Conscience Rights
In 2020 Andrea Palm was sued for continuing to close and restrict religious gatherings
Early in the pandemic, Andrea Palm predicted a 4,800 percent increase in deaths over a two-week period unless she and the governor’s stay-at-home order is followed. This prediction imploded.
Throughout the crisis, Andrea Palm has caused confusion and seemed to not understand the data on the pandemic. At one point, she claimed she never told lawmakers the lockdowns would last six months, but then immediately said that the lockdowns would probably last six months.
In October 2020 Andrea Palm claimed the hospitals were overwhelmed however after being confronted with an empty overflow center she backtracked her remarks.
On Elections during COVID
Andrea Palm advised the governor to delay the Spring Election, which the state Supreme Court blocked.
On Vaccine Distribution
In January 2021, the CDC reported Wisconsin ranked 40th in the nation in its vaccine rollout. Half of the doses provided to Wisconsin had not yet been administered, and DHS still hadn’t completed its priority lists for who could be vaccinated and when
On Management Style
Under her leadership, three top DHS officials quit during the public health emergency.