The Buckeye Institute: Eliminating Government Burdens Will Help Fight COVID-19Jun 03, 2020
Columbus, OH – On Wednesday, The Buckeye Institute submitted written testimony (see full text below or download a PDF) to the Ohio House State and Local Government Committee on the policies in House Bill 673, which would take “commonsense steps in the right direction” by paring back unnecessary occupational license restrictions and allow more trained medical professionals to help patients.
In his testimony, Greg R. Lawson, research fellow at The Buckeye Institute, outlined the three areas where the policies in House Bill 673 offer “commonsense responses to several complex challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The bill would:
- Remove some—although not all—regulatory hurdles that prevent pharmacists from doing their jobs as The Buckeye Institute outlined in Policy Solutions for the Pandemic: Enlisting Pharmacists to Fight COVID-19;
- Allow well-trained prospective nurses to continue helping our health care ranks during this emergency and wisely extends their temporary authorization to practice until July 1, 2021; and
- Address some of Ohio’s ongoing occupational licensing issues by temporarily suspending continuing education requirements that licensed professionals must complete to retain their licenses.
The Buckeye Institute’s policy solutions that policymakers can implement to ensure Ohio and the country are ready to fight and recover from the pandemic can be found at: www.BuckeyeInstitute.org/Policy-Solutions-for-the-Pandemic.
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Eliminating Government Burdens to Help Fight COVID-19
Interested Party Testimony
Ohio House State and Local Government Committee
House Bill 673
Greg R. Lawson, Research Fellow
The Buckeye Institute
June 3, 2020
Chairman Wiggam Vice Chair Stephens, Ranking Member Kelly, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony regarding House Bill 673.
My name is Greg R. Lawson and I am the research fellow at The Buckeye Institute, an independent research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to advance free-market public policy in the states.
House Bill 673 offers commonsense responses to several complex challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of those responses align with The Buckeye Institute’s recent policy recommendations.
First, the bill will strengthen Ohio’s public health infrastructure and remove regulatory hurdles that prevent trained health care professionals from doing their jobs. In Policy Solutions for the Pandemic: Enlisting Pharmacists to Fight COVID-19, The Buckeye Institute recommended allowing pharmacists to test for and treat COVID-19 to help manage the current crisis and any future flare-ups.
House Bill 673 takes steps in the right direction, but they could be improved either by eliminating the requirement that pharmacists administer tests pursuant to a physician-established protocol or by creating a uniform statewide protocol for pharmacists to follow. Research shows that requiring physician-established protocols provide no health benefits and only make it harder for people to access the care they need.
Second, House Bill 673 allows well-trained prospective nurses to continue helping our health care ranks during this emergency and wisely extends their temporary authorization to practice until July 1, 2021. This prudent extension makes sense given the ongoing medical uncertainty and concern for subsequent waves of COVID-19, and will allow health care facilities to retain as many care providers as possible.
Finally, House Bill 673 also addresses some of Ohio’s ongoing occupational licensing issues by temporarily suspending continuing education requirements that licensed professionals must complete to retain their licenses. The bill’s temporary suspension will relieve tens of thousands of licensed professionals from these educational burdens at a time when meeting those burdens may not be practical, advisable, or even possible.
House Bill 673 does not solve every difficulty that Ohio workers and care providers must now face in this new COVID-19 environment, but it does take commonsense steps in the right direction by paring back unnecessary government restrictions and allowing more trained professionals to do their jobs and help patients.
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