President Barack Obama announced a national emergency supposedly in response to increasing H1N1 cases in the United States. According to a statement by President Obama: “The 2009 H1N1 pandemic continues to evolve. The rates of illness continue to rise rapidly within many communities across the nation, and the potential exists for the pandemic to overburden healthcare resources in some localities.”
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Thomas Frieden stated that millions have been infected with H1N1 in the United States, more than 20,000 have been hospitalized, and more than 1,000 have died. Dr. Frieden explained although 11.3 million H1N1 vaccines have been disseminated in the United States, healthcare providers have experienced vaccine shortages because of manufacturing delays.
Several administrators who were unauthorized to speak on the record stated that the emergency declaration was a proactive measure rather than a response to increasing influenza cases. One administrator indicated that the declaration “gives the federal government more power to help states” by removing bureaucratic requirements, thereby allowing healthcare providers to care for patients and to move equipment to locations based on need. Because of President Obama’s declaration, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius possesses the authority to waive or alter requirements so that healthcare providers can enact emergency strategies.
Max Weber argued that ideal-type bureaucracies are both rational and efficient. However, real-life bureaucracies are much less efficient than ideal-type bureaucracies. For instance, bureaucracies can be slow to change when faced with atypical situations, as evidenced by the response to the pandemic.
“Bureaucracy” By Andras Hegedus