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March 21, 2020

We see the best of America in times of crisis—and today’s unprecedented coronavirus pandemic is no different. Every day, we hear stories of neighbors helping neighbors and of private companies stepping up to help combat the virus—stories that make us proud of the indomitable American spirit and help assuage our fears in a time of great uncertainty.

But we’re also learning important lessons about how Americans can benefit when we unleash the power of human innovation and cut the red tape holding it back. Across the country, we see how the removal of government barriers in the midst of this outbreak is clearing the way for actions that save lives:

  • States such as Colorado and Massachusetts have realized that enforcing redundant occupational licensing rules is less important than allowing healthcare providers already licensed in another state to treat patients where help is most needed.
  • Medicare will now temporarily pay doctors who treat patients with “telemedicine” instead of forcing them to meet in person and risk further spread of COVID-19.
  • In Texas, alcohol and food supplies no longer have to be delivered on separate trucks to the same store, so essential goods can be restocked faster.

These are wonderful examples of government getting out of the way to allow the free enterprise system to do what it does best: find quick, effective, and affordable solutions to the problem we face. However, there are many more unnecessary government barriers that must crumble.

Now is the time to expand the Right to Try, so that coronavirus patients and those in high-risk demographics can access new treatments and vaccines quickly as they are discovered.

Now is the time to lessen the regulations governing home-based businesses, so that entrepreneurs can continue providing needed services in a time of social distancing.
And now is the time to adopt international reciprocity for medicines and devices already saving lives in other countries, so that patients are better able to beat this deadly virus.

To help examine the American policy response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Goldwater Institute has started a special series on our In Defense of Liberty blog featuring our experts’ analysis, looking what should be done in a variety of policy areas—from healthcare to education to the right to earn a living—to help face the many challenges this outbreak poses. We will use this special series to identify lessons that state and federal politicians should learn from this experience, and we look forward to continuing to share our insights with you there.

As we think about how to mitigate the effects of this outbreak through sound public policy, we remember those who are suffering at this time—those who have contracted the virus, those who may feel isolated, and those who have lost jobs or a needed paycheck. Their lives have been turned upside down in a matter of weeks, and the ways we respond—through policy and through our daily actions—are and will continue to be a testament to the good this country can do.

I wish you and your family health and happiness—together, especially in this time of turmoil, let us maintain hope for the future and for the incredible things we can and will achieve. Goldwater will not stop fighting for the American Dream, and our work is needed now more than ever.

Victor Riches
President and CEO
The Goldwater Institute



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