While some have used the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to bang the drum for socialist healthcare, welfare for the rich, or corporate bailouts, the actual events unfolding show that, sometimes, the best thing the government can do is get out of the way.
Big government has made the crisis worse from the beginning. It was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration that blocked private industry from creating and distributing coronavirus tests.
Their centralized control is at least partly to blame for the massive delays in testing and for the spread of the disease this scarcity enabled. And, already, we’re seeing how deregulation can boost our collective response to the pandemic by removing unnecessary government barriers.
For example, states such as Massachusetts and Colorado have moved to relax regulations in order to allow doctors’ licenses to travel across state lines.
This is a great policy move and improves the ability of medical professionals to go work where they are needed most. But it’s absolutely mind-boggling that doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are currently restricted by red tape from practicing medicine across state lines. If someone is licensed in California, he ought to be able to work in Nevada without having to jump through hoops and deal with endless bureaucracy.
We should also roll back regulations that limit telemedicine. If medical professionals believe they can best minimize the virus’s spread through offering medical advice via phone or video chat, they ought to be able to do so without state interference. Amid a public health crisis, government policy should make it easier, not more difficult, for people to receive care.