Policy Solutions for the Pandemic
“Getting America back to work and preventing the next pandemic requires us to look critically at state and federal regulations that create needless barriers to the delivery of medical services, or to unleashing American ingenuity.” ~ Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer, The Buckeye Institute
Since the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, The Buckeye Institute has outlined immediate actions Ohio policymakers can take to ensure Ohio is ready to fight and recover from the pandemic (see a list of Buckeye's research and recomendations). The recommendations focus on policies to boost Ohio’s health care system and support Ohio’s workers, small businesses, and the economy.
Ohio has adopted many of Buckeye’s policy recommendations on how to strengthen Ohio’s health care system and provide for families and businesses facing unexpected economic hardship including:
- Creating Ohio’s first-ever education savings account program;
- Increasing telehealth access and monitoring. Access to telehealth services is permanent for people on Medicaid. Temporary access for people with private insurance will expire on December 31, 2021. The policies in House Bill 122 would make access to telehealth services for people with private insurance permanent;
- Extending universal recognition of out-of-state medical licenses to nurses. This temporary measure expired on June 18, 2021, when Ohio’s state of emergency ended. The policies in Senate Bill 3 will help by joining the Nurse Licensure Compact. However, the policy in Senate Bill 131 and House Bill 203—universal occupational license recognition—is the best policy for Ohio;
- Permitting pharmacists to test for COVID-19 and administer COVID-19 vaccines;
- Enlisting medical and nursing students to support doctors and nurses fighting COVID-19;
- Eliminating unnecessary budget commitments;
- Instituting a hiring freeze in state government;
- Allowing establishments with an existing liquor permit to sell and deliver alcohol on carryout menus;
- Expanding broadband access to underserved areas of Ohio;
- Providing responsible businesses, schools, and workers with critical liability protections from COVID-19 lawsuits;
- Withdrawing from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program;
- Using federal tax dollars from the American Rescue Plan to repay Ohio’s unemployment loan, saving Ohio employers and workers millions of dollars;
- Allowing taxpayers who do not live and did not work in a city to seek a refund of 2021 local income taxes unconstitutionally taken. While acknowledging the constitutional problems and fundamental unfairness of House Bill 197, this fails to provide complete relief for taxpayers, which Buckeye is fighting for in court cases across Ohio;
- Joining the Nurse Licensure Compact; and
- Joining the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.
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