The coronavirus was a disaster for mankind. But squint hard enough and you can still find silver linings even in a terrible situation.
Take what happened in the healthcare system, for example.
Most Americans have no idea just how much the government already controls our healthcare system. The thing can’t even find capitalism in the rearview mirror, as I detailed in this episode of BASED.
So, when faced with long wait times, too few providers, and high costs for medical care, many incorrectly blame the free market instead of the politicians and their rules and regulations that are actually responsible.
But in the face of COVID-19, both federal and state politicians did something interesting: they began to roll back their own regulations in the healthcare sector. These actions reveal two things.
One, they knew all along these regulations were not actually in place for public health and safety. Otherwise, they would have become more necessary during a public health crisis—not less.
Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, they showed that politicians—even those in the big-government camp who push for more state control over healthcare—know in their hearts that these regulations limit supply and therefore make care harder to come by and more expensive.
That they quickly paused them during an actual healthcare crisis reveals these people know a freer market is more capable of responding to a calamity and that it can rev up its services faster when the government gets out of the way.
Honestly, shame on all of them.
But now that we’re through the height of the pandemic, the question remains of what will be done about the re-implementation of these rules and regulations? Consumers have now become accustomed to the ease that things like telehealth services provide them.
Why should you have to wait for days for an appointment, take time off work, and go sit in a waiting room where you are exposed to other sick people just to see a doctor? There is no reason, other than the fact that industry-insiders lobby against these practices for their own bottom lines.
Take Florida, for example.
In recent years, the state has expanded its telehealth services, which has benefitted millions of people in the state. However, numerous restrictions on these services still exist for no real health or safety reasons.
As one example, while consumers are allowed to meet with their doctor over wi-fi, they cannot meet with them over the phone. While this may sound small, it’s a big deal for rural residents in the state—many of whom do not have access to the high-speed internet service needed for video conferencing.
Telehealth is by no means the only example of a senseless regulation being rolled back during COVID and then slowly put back into place afterward. Other problematic laws that limit healthcare include a failure for states to recognize occupational licenses of healthcare providers issued by other states and Certificate of Need (CON) laws that arbitrarily limit the number of hospitals, beds, or other medical equipment in a state.
But something about the continued red tape on telehealth is especially infuriating. There simply is no argument against it except for the fact that more people will be able to receive care and the insurance companies will therefore have to spend more money on doctors’ visits.
This is corrupt, plain and simple. It’s time to cut the red tape on telehealth across every sector and at every level.
Just let people see their doctor without making life unnecessarily hard on them. Is that really too much to ask?
Disclaimer: Hannah is a Media Consult for Americans for Prosperity Florida, which works on telehealth reform.