They say necessity is the mother of invention, but it just might be the mother of deregulation, too. COVID-19 has caused widespread death and destruction, and our American recovery will be painful and long. Yet one way to make this journey easier is keeping in place the adaptations we made to loosen burdensome regulation on everyday life.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday on how “Calls Grow to Abandon Regulations Eased Under Covid (Hello, Cocktails to Go) … After state and local governments temporarily eased rules over takeout alcohol, telehealth and other services, some want the regulations gone for good.”
Common sense seems to be winning the day in many areas—let’s hope that stays in place. The lighter side of this means that you’d get to keep your happy hour-in-a-box. On a more serious note, as someone who personally has benefited from better access to telehealth, it’s great to see that so many medical providers are expanding their services by phone or videoconferencing—and many want to keep that infrastructure in place after COVID finally ends.
Another big healthcare trend the Journal identifies is that “as many as 40 states have honored licenses from other states for physicians, nurses, psychologists and other health professionals, allowing them to provide care across state lines under certain conditions during the pandemic.”
IWF has long championed the cause of reducing bureaucratic, cross-state moves—especially, for example, for military spouses. Now the COVID pandemic has directly confirmed how we can do this safely.
The Journal cites Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska), who said in his January state of the state speech: “If a regulation needs to be suspended during a crisis, we have to ask ourselves, why was it there in the first place, and can we live without it?”
What’s interesting is the cross-party-line appeal of this deregulatory trend:
“Deregulation has long been a central tenet among Republican politicians, but many of the coronavirus-inspired changes have gained bipartisan support,” write the Journal’s Aaron Zitner and Julie Bykowicz, who quote Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), “who is leading Senate efforts to permanently expand Medicare coverage for telehealth.”
“‘I’m a Democrat. I’m not instinctively antiregulation. But I think this pandemic reminds us that some regulations are from a bygone era and make no sense for anyone anymore.’”
Schatz is right—we’re living in a brave new era, and it’s time our government caught up with the times.