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Week in Review: How States Can Proactively Fight Pandemic Threats Like Coronavirus

March 14, 2020

COVID-19, or coronavirus, is dominating headlines across the United States, with more and more Americans beginning to work from home, staying away from crowded places, and canceling social plans as precautions. But it’s important to realize that many state governments are standing in the way of administering effective treatment to the sick.

How are they doing that? Through certificate of need laws. As the Goldwater Institute’s Naomi Lopez and the Mackinac Center’s Lindsay Killen write in an op-ed published this week, these laws require “a board of existing competitors” to approve the construction of new hospitals, the addition of beds to existing facilities, or the adoption of some types of new technologies. At a time when coronavirus looms, these government limitations on our medical capacity are extremely worrisome.

“We shouldn’t have to wait until there is a looming public health threat to recognize that these crony laws serve to prop up hospitals’ bottom lines artificially at the expense of public well-being and preparedness,” Lopez and Killen write.

You can read their full op-ed here.

Barriers to Work Are Coming Down in Utah

First, it was Arizona. Then, Pennsylvania. Now, this week, Utah is becoming the latest state to follow the Goldwater Institute’s national lead in breaking down barriers to work.

In most states, licensed professionals who relocate across state lines are often required to complete additional training or testing simply to obtain a license to work in their new home state, forcing them to spend more time and more money just to be approved for a license to do a job they were already doing safely and productively elsewhere. Utah Senate Bill 23 directs that state’s licensing entities to approve an application for a license to an individual who has held a license in good standing in another state for at least one year at a similar scope of practice as the license he or she currently holds. It’s a reform that will benefit not only workers and their families, but also employers and consumers in the state who will benefit from the increased options and price competition that accompany an influx of skilled labor.

The bill passed through both houses of the legislature with overwhelming support, and now, it awaits the signature of Utah Governor Gary Herbert. Goldwater Institute Director of Strategic Engagement Heather Curry has the full story at In Defense of Liberty.

The Government Forced This Military Spouse to Give Up Her Nursing Career

Military families with an active duty service member move an average of every two to three years. For a military spouse who needs a license to work in the field of their choice, the long, cumbersome, and bureaucratic process of getting relicensed every time they move can be simply too great a burden.

Debbi Chapman is one of those military spouses. Goldwater Institute National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten interviewed Chapman for his recent investigative report on the employment and licensing challenges that military spouses face, and her story is featured in a new blog post on In Defense of Liberty. Chapman was an open-heart intensive care nurse who eventually gave up her profession because it became unworkable to maintain her license as she moved from state to state.

“It’s like, which career is more important?” said Chapman, whose husband recently retired as an Army sergeant and bomb disposal expert. “My career is very important to the patients I work with. But his job is important to the country and to what he believes in and what he feels. We agree on that. He did a job that not many other people could do or would do. So it was important that he was highly trained. My job is important. I’m highly trained, but so is he, and in the grand scheme of things he was protecting the greater good.”

You can read Chapman’s full story at In Defense of Liberty. And to read Flatten’s full investigative report, click here.



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