Washington, D.C. — The novel coronavirus has changed American life in important and lasting ways. Americans have become newly aware of the tremendous threat that pandemics, and other unexpected events, pose to our way of life. Not only in our healthcare system, but also economically.
Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) announced on Monday the release of Restoring the American Dream of Health, Happiness and Opportunity in a World with Coronavirus, a plan that outlines two dozen achievable, common-sense actions policymakers can take to better position the country to move forward in spite of the coronavirus.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and thousands of businesses have closed. Many face ongoing new expenses, limitations to their operations, and other challenges.
“The novel coronavirus and economic shut down make it all the more important that a policy framework exists to encourage innovation and to be responsive to community and people’s needs,” said IWF President Carrie Lukas. “We need to look at labor laws to make it easier for people to work and for new innovations to quickly come online. We need to make sure parents have more choices for finding learning opportunities and care for their children. We should be committed to helping people who are struggling today, but in a way that is targeted, responsible, and helps put people back on a path of upward mobility.”
“This pandemic has been challenging and clarifying; it has shown our strengths and weaknesses in many areas, including in our healthcare system,” said IWF Policy Director Hadley Heath Manning. “The best, most flexible and responsive aspects of American health care have risen to the challenge of a new threat with agility and efficiency. But bureaucratic barriers, along with complex and opaque pricing and payment, have been long standing flaws and frustrations that have caused critical problems now, for our pandemic response. Fixing these broken elements of American health care will help to foster a more patient-centered, transparent, responsive, and competitive health sector, which is what Americans want, both during the pandemic and afterward.”
The good news is that we have the opportunity to learn from this experience and create a more prepared, resilient, and innovative society. We need to help businesses reopen, to help people find jobs, and to find innovative ways to ensure that society not only resumes functioning, but thrives.
Restoring the American Dream in a World With Coronavirus recommendations include:
- Protecting schools, daycare centers, and businesses from the threat of coronavirus-related lawsuits
- Removing unnecessarily occupational licensing laws
- Protecting independent contracting
- Encouraging flexible paid sick leave
- Reforming unemployment insurance so that it doesn’t encourage long-term unemployment
- Making insurance fairer and more affordable
- Requiring medical providers to provide patients with prices before they receive treatments
- Removing barriers to expanding health facilities
- Fixing the FDA’s Emergency Authorization Process
- Expediting drug and vaccine approvals
- Providing access to short-term loans
- Creating more and better schooling options
- Reopening schools strategically
- Prioritizing teachers’ salaries and classroom materials over bureaucracy and compliance staff
- Reforming the school lunch program to help children in need receive meals
- Postponing student loan payments
- Avoiding taxpayer-financed bailouts that only benefit the university sector at the expense of the millions of working Americans and small business owners
- Creating more childcare options
- Improving infrastructure
- Avoiding unnecessary new environmental regulations
- Reducing long-term debt obligations
- Allowing legal, private, voluntary increase in gun ownership
- Improving immigration controls
- Reviewing trade relationships
- Reforming international institutions like the United Nations and World Health Organization
The government cannot continue to borrow and throw around trillions of dollars to try to paper over the damage caused by coronavirus and the economic shutdown. Rather, we need positive changes to create a framework and better environment that will encourage innovation and hard work so our country recovers and is better than ever before.
Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.