News and Commentary
The Covid-19 crisis has prompted much-need discussion about the accessibility of America’s healthcare system. James Capretta writes in RealClearPolicy on what policymakers should consider to increase access to doctors by liberalizing visas, speeding up training, and streamlining payments. Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes on how midwife regulation could be cut back to give pregnant mothers better alternatives to overburdened hospitals. With the right changes, new mothers can avoid infection by Covid-19 while safely giving birth.
In Salon, Niskanen’s own Robert Orr and Anuska Jain explain how medical education could be shortened to six-year programs in states with greater savings for everyone involved. Cato Institute’s Jeffrey Singer notes Arizona’s actions to expand scope of practice and suggests other fields that could benefit from expanding what medical professionals can do. These kinds of reforms are urgent because as AEI’s James Capretta writes, our current economic freeze is waiting on increasing medical services.
Individual states are thankfully considering reforms. Pennsylvania’s governor has loosened licensing rules to address the shortage of medical workers while state legislators push for even further changes across different fields of work. Governor Gavin Newsom of California has suggested he will be expanding flexibility for medical workers while increasing hospital bed capacity by the tens of thousands. Sophia Bollag at The Sacramento Bee writes on what to expect by the governor.
Ohio’s legislature is also considering license reciprocity policies in light of the recession and the medical worker shortage. It turns out when a pandemic hits, these kinds of regulations are being found harmful and necessary to cut in red and blue states across the country. Organizations defending these licensing policies are certainly getting the message. Meanwhile, more are calling for liberalizing licensure policies in states such as New Jersey. Professionals and researchers have written in the New England Journal of Medicine declaring similar reforms to scope of practice necessary for doctors.
A new NBER paper finds that scope of practice reforms for advanced practice registered nurses increase self-employment and hours worked.