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New poll: Americans want more flexibility, fewer unnecessary restrictions for health care providers

Apr 20, 2020 by AFP

A new poll shows that most Americans believe regulations have prevented health care professionals from helping people and that these providers should have more flexibility.

national survey conducted by YouGov and Americans for Prosperity found that 58 percent of Americans believe that health care rules and regulations have prevented doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals from providing help. An overwhelming 83 percent believe that they should have greater flexibility to provide health care as they and their patients see fit.

Similarly, 78 percent of Americans believe that relaxing health care restrictions will provide doctors, nurses, and researchers with greater flexibility.

The poll was conducted the week of April 15-19 and reflects what Americans believe are the government’s shortcomings in response to COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed a tragic reality: America’s health care system actually stands in the way of doctors, nurses, and medical researchers helping people,” said Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips. “It’s why the vast majority of Americans share our conviction that it is critical to empower medical professionals and innovators with the flexibility to get people the care they need.”

In light of the pandemic, several states have taken action to relax needlessly restrictive rules. Michigan and  Wisconsin have allowed qualified physician assistants, nurses, and other health care providers to treat patients affected by COVID-19. South Dakota has also relaxed constraints on telehealth.

However, these moves, often implemented via executive order, are temporary and the restrictions will be enforced again once the pandemic is over. Barriers to expanded care remain on the books throughout the country. Thirty-five states still have certificate-of-need laws, requiring anyone who wants to build or expand health care facilities or services to get permission from the government to do so. Twenty-four states still have scope-of-practice laws, which limit what services medical professionals can provide for patients.

Americans for Prosperity will continue to work to ensure Americans have greater access to the care they need, during and after the pandemic. The goal of Health Care Reimagined, our national health care campaign, is to empower doctors, nurses, and medical researchers with the resources they need to do what they do best—to help people live safer, healthier lives. We must remove the barriers that stand in the path of a stronger, more efficient health care system.

This includes:

  • Making telehealth an option for all Americans.
  • Removing occupational licensing, scope-of-practice, and certificate-of-need laws.
  • Making permanent rapid Food and Drug Administration deployment of testing, treatment, and prevention.
  • Ensuring patients have access to promising experimental treatments that have already been proven safe.

The YouGov poll reveals what many Americans consider to be weaknesses in the nation’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Removing burdensome regulations will not only help improve the response to the current pandemic, but will also enable America to better prepare for future ones.

Join the Health Care Reimagined campaign to help drive solutions that will lift barriers to better care.