Regulatory Policy: The Way Forward

Reform Occupational Licensing Laws to Increase the Supply of Health Care Workers 

The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a significant strain on the US healthcare system and on the supply of healthcare providers. State occupational licensing laws seriously exacerbate this problem by constraining who is eligible to provide healthcare. In response to the pandemic, states should consider a series of temporary measures to address these self-imposed limits, including a blanket expansion of medical scope of practice laws, waiving licensure requirements for medical professionals, and issuing out-of-state licensing. These reforms will help provide the capacity the healthcare system needs to meet extraordinary demand.

Institute State Regulatory Reform to Encourage Entrepreneurial Resilience

Small businesses have been among the hardest hit by government-ordered closures due to the COVID-19-pandemic. In many parts of the country, these businesses have already long been burdened by regulatory growth, which makes it harder to start and successfully run small businesses. 

Policymakers in states like Virginia, Idaho, and Ohio have been making “significant headway when it comes to reviewing old regulations, estab­lishing budget infrastructure for regulations, and setting benchmarks for reducing red tape,” as James Broughel notes. Continuing and even accelerating this trend will go a long way to reduce the burdens that small businesses are facing across the board. 

Create a BRAC-Style Regulatory Review Commission to Remove Unnecessary Red Tape

The immense volume of regulation in the US slows economic growth, limits innovation, and disproportionately burdens small businesses and low-income households. The importance of these effects are underscored by a recent finding: had the volume of regulation not grown between 1980 and 2012, the 2012 US economy would have been $4 trillion (or 25 percent) larger. 

A BRAC-style regulatory review commission (modeled on the bipartisan Base Realignment and Closure commission that closed many underused military bases following the end of the Cold War) provides a way to objectively identify and remove large amounts of unnecessary or ineffective red tape without interference by the special interests who benefit from these regulations at the expense of the broader population.