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Goldwater Urges Government: Don’t Stifle AI Innovation in Healthcare

September 28, 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize healthcare for the better, promising to transform our daily lives in profound ways. Yet a rush to regulate will only stifle innovation and hinder AI’s benefits.

That’s why Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow Naomi Lopez, co-founder of the AI Healthcare Working Group, is helping lead a coalition of federal and state healthcare policy experts who are urging the federal government to embrace AI innovation in healthcare.

You can read the open letter and the guiding principles for reform here or below:

Open Letter:

In response to rapid innovations in Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Administration and Congress are proposing regulations that benefit large market incumbents – those with the resources to manipulate regulatory schemes – at the expense of start-ups. These proposals are at odds with fundamental liberties and threaten to stifle innovation in healthcare.

 The AI Healthcare Working Group is comprised of federal and state healthcare policy experts, some having served in the federal government, that is examining the current regulatory framework for AI in healthcare in order to provide guiding principles, recommendations, and technical assistance for a more thoughtful and effective approach to these rapidly emerging technological advances.

These guiding principles for reform should serve as a starting point and a crucial reminder: more regulation, particularly as innovation rapidly advances, should be grounded in tangible, substantiated outcomes and should never be driven by ideological goals. If regulation is deemed necessary, it should be narrowly tailored to promote competition and innovation, provide clarity to consumers and companies, and protect patient safety and privacy.

We look forward to working with Congress, state lawmakers, and federal and state policymakers to seek constructive solutions to concerns over new technologies in healthcare that both adhere to important principles of individual liberty and foster medical innovation.


Joe Grogan Nonresident Senior Fellow, USC Schaeffer Center

Naomi Lopez Senior Fellow, Goldwater Institute

Principles for reform:

1. No new regulatory agency:

We advocate against creating a dedicated AI regulatory agency in healthcare. Instead, existing regulatory bodies should adapt their current authorities, such as the FDA’s approval and certification of AI-driven medical products, to accommodate AI innovations. Congress should ensure that these agencies avoid regulatory overreach and, instead, focus on developing modern and agile regulatory approaches.

2. Safeguarding American sovereignty and intellectual capital:

While international collaboration can be beneficial, maintaining regulatory independence is vital to protect national sovereignty. Robust intellectual property (IP) frameworks for AI should spur research and investments in healthcare advancements and bolster investment while safeguarding American intellectual capital.

3. Cost-saving and resource efficiency:

Government-deployed AI systems in healthcare agencies and programs should prioritize cost reduction, operational efficiency, and the elimination of duplicative activities. Targeting waste, fraud, and abuse in taxpayer-funded healthcare delivery and administration can yield significant resource savings.

4. Prohibition of government authority to dictate results or limit ideas and scientific debate:

Governments should not have the authority to dictate AI-generated outcomes in healthcare. To combat bias, comprehensive datasets are vastly preferable to governmental intervention in algorithmic decision-making. AI should not be used to stifle intellectual freedom, hinder scientific discourse, or suppress dissenting opinions. The ultimate authority for medical decisions should remain in the domain of the practice of medicine, upholding the principle of medical autonomy.

5. Regulatory clarity and simplicity for fostering innovation:

Modern and agile AI regulations in healthcare should prioritize clarity and simplicity. They should support innovation and AI technology development while providing for patient safety, privacy, and ethical standards. These regulations should resist the influence of large market incumbents and avoid creating artificial barriers to entry.

6. Embrace innovation in healthcare:

The integration of AI in healthcare has the potential to create a dynamic and patient-centered experience. It harnesses AI technologies to expand healthcare access, enhance outcomes, improve the patient experience, reduce costs, alleviate the burdens on our healthcare providers, and drive advancements in medicine. To achieve these goals, lawmakers and policymakers should meticulously assess the boundaries of regulatory action, weigh the trade-offs between regulation and medical advancement, and consider the consequences of stifling innovation, which would further limit healthcare access.



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