Government Suspends Anti-Capitalist Regulations To Move Closer To Free-Market Medicine

American’s For Tax Freedom has posted a list of over 150 suspended regulations to help the U.S. deal with the COVID-19 virus from China.

In all cases, these anti-capitalist, anti-free-market rules have been suspended because they increase the cost and decrease the efficiency and effectiveness of America’s health care system.

Which makes you wonder why such violations of individual rights (non-objective regulations) were put into place, to begin with.

Such “universal” regulations are a political virus that has weakened the U.S. health care for the past century.

They should all be repealed. — MDC

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Some of the suspended federal regulations include:

FDA allows state leeway in virus testing

“The FDA will allow states to take responsibility for tests developed and used by laboratories within their borders. The labs will not have to pursue Emergency Use Authorization from the agency, an emergency clearance that is normally required.” – STAT News (3/16/20)

FDA loosens regulations on distribution of newly developed tests    

“Under certain circumstances, the agency will not object to any manufacturers that distribute newly developed tests before the FDA grants emergency clearance, and a similar stance will be taken toward labs that use these new tests.” – STAT News (3/16/20)

FDA issues emergency authorizations for several COVID-19 tests

“The CDC has granted a right of reference to the performance data contained in CDC’s EUA request (FDA submission number EUA200001) to any entity seeking an FDA EUA for a COVID-19 diagnostic device.” – U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2/29/20 – Present)

ATR comments: “So far, they have has issued dozens (and counting) emergency authorizations for COVID-19 tests. This includes Abbott Laboratories’ portable coronavirus test and Bodysphere Inc.’s serological testing kit, that can detect a positive or negative result for COVID-19 in two minutes. Follow the link here to find the list.”

FDA eases rules to increase ventilator production

“First, the guidance describes the agency’s intention to exercise enforcement discretion for certain modifications to these FDA-cleared devices. Normally, any time a manufacturer or user makes a modification to a ventilator device, for instance, adding wireless and/or Bluetooth capability for remote monitoring, those modifications can often trigger an FDA premarket review, which can delay the time it takes to get these devices to the bedside. The guidance also helps manufacturers ramp up their manufacturing by adding production lines or alternative sites, for instance, using non-medical device manufacturers such as automobile manufacturers, to start manufacturing ventilator parts….Second, as outlined in this guidance, hospitals and health care professionals may use ventilators intended for other environments… Finally, the agency encourages manufacturers, whether foreign or domestic, to talk to FDA about pursuing an emergency use authorization (EUA), which would allow them to distribute their ventilators in the United States.” – U.S. Food and Drug Administration (3/22/20)

FDA issues emergency authorization of anti-malaria drug for coronavirus care

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to BARDA to allow hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products donated to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible.” – Department of Health and Human Services (3/29/20)

EPA easing enforcement of environmental legal obligations

“The EPA will exercise the enforcement discretion specified below for noncompliance covered by this temporary policy and resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic… The consequences of the pandemic may affect facility operations and the availability of key staff and contractors and the ability of laboratories to timely analyze samples and provide results. As a result, there may be constraints on the ability of a facility or laboratory to carry out certain activities required by our federal environmental permits, regulations, and statutes. These consequences may affect reporting obligations and milestones set forth in settlements and consent decrees. Finally, these consequences may affect the ability of an operation to meet enforceable limitations on air emissions and water discharges, requirements for the management of hazardous waste, or requirements to ensure and provide safe drinking water… The enforcement discretion described in this temporary policy do not apply to any criminal violations or conditions of probation in criminal sentences. Appropriate consideration of potential criminal liability is discussed separately.” – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (3/26/20)

DOT provides hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief  

“This deregulatory action will allow greater flexibility for truck drivers transporting goods such as necessary medical supplies, testing equipment, hand sanitizer, disinfectants and food required for emergency restocking of stores.” – Americans for Tax Reform (3/16/20)

Not all test kits required to be sent to a CDC lab    

“The administration removed a regulation that required all test kits to be sent to a CDC lab to be confirmed by federal authorities, a process that extended the wait times for patients to be notified about their results.”  – Washington Examiner (3/13/20)

Allowance of licensed health care professionals to work in a different state from which they are licensed

The “requirements that physicians or other health care professionals hold licenses in the State in which they provide services, if they have an equivalent license from another State (and are not affirmatively barred from practice in that State or any State a part of which is included in the emergency area)” are being waived. – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (3/13/20)

TSA allowing hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces    

“TSA is allowing passengers to bring liquid hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces in carry-on bags until further notice. Passengers can expect that these containers larger than the standard allowance of 3.4 ounces of liquids permitted through a checkpoint will need to be screened separately…” – Transportation Security Administration (3/13/20)

Loosening HIPAA requirements in order to expand telemedicine

In order to allow patients to more easily communicate with their providers, the Administration loosened the HIPAA requirements surrounding telemedicine. This important change allows doctors to see patients via commonly used apps like FaceTime and Skype that were previously non-HIPAA compliant. – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (3/17/20)

Allowing out-of-state doctors to treat patients through telehealth    

“HHS Secretary Alex Azar waive certain laws to expand the use of telehealth, which public health experts say can help reduce risk of transmission. The new order appears to let Azar waive federal licensing requirements so out-of-state doctors can treat patients virtually in states with the greatest need.” – Politico (3/13/20)

Allowing distilled spirits permittees (DSPs) to produce hand sanitizer  

“Due to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Acting Administrator of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has found that it is necessary or desirable to waive provisions of internal revenue law with regard to distilled spirits, and therefore is providing certain exemptions and authorizations to distilled spirits permittees who wish to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizers to address the demand for such products during this emergency.” – Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (3/18/20)

FCC lends wireless internet service providers 5.9 GHz Spectrum to help them serve rural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

“The 60-day grant of special temporary authority (STA) for use of the lower 45 MHz of the band is to help them serve rural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC said the grants will help with telehealth, distance learning and telework in rural communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.” – Multichannel News (3/27/20)

Allows local ambulatory surgery centers to provide hospital services, helping those who need cancer procedures, trauma surgeries, and other essential surgeries receive care while elective surgeries are canceled

“CMS will allow communities to take advantage of local ambulatory surgery centers that have canceled elective surgeries, per federal recommendations. Surgery centers can contract with local healthcare systems to provide hospital services, or they can enroll and bill as hospitals during the emergency declaration as long as they are not inconsistent with their State’s Emergency Preparedness or Pandemic Plan. The new flexibilities will also leverage these types of sites to decant services typically provided by hospitals such as cancer procedures, trauma surgeries and other essential surgeries.” – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (3/30/20)

Allows non-hospital buildings and spaces to be used for patient care and quarantine sites

“CMS will now temporarily permit non-hospital buildings and spaces to be used for patient care and quarantine sites, provided that the location is approved by the State and ensures the safety and comfort of patients and staff. This will expand the capacity of communities to develop a system of care that safely treats patients without COVID-19, and isolate and treat patients with COVID-19.” – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (3/30/20)

Allows hospitals, laboratories, and other entities to perform tests for COVID-19 on people at home, in other community-based settings outside of the hospital, and, for emergency departments, at drive-through and off-campus test sites

“CMS will allow hospitals, laboratories, and other entities to perform tests for COVID-19 on people at home and in other community-based settings outside of the hospital. This will both increase access to testing and reduce risks of exposure. The new guidance allows healthcare systems, hospitals, and communities to set up testing sites exclusively for the purpose of identifying COVID-19-positive patients in a safe environment. In addition, CMS will allow hospital emergency departments to test and screen patients for COVID-19 at drive-through and off-campus test sites.” – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (3/30/20)

Allows ambulances to transport patients to a wider range of locations

“During the public health emergency, ambulances can transport patients to a wider range of locations when other transportation is not medically appropriate. These destinations include community mental health centers, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), physician’s offices, urgent care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, and any locations furnishing dialysis services when an ESRD facility is not available.” – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (3/30/20)

Physician-owned hospitals can temporarily increase the number of their licensed beds, operating rooms, and procedure rooms

“Physician-owned hospitals can temporarily increase the number of their licensed beds, operating rooms, and procedure rooms. For example, a physician-owned hospital may temporarily convert observation beds to inpatient beds to accommodate patient surge during the public health emergency.” – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (3/30/20)

Hospitals allowed to bill for services at off-site treatment

“In addition, hospitals can bill for services provided outside their four walls. Emergency departments of hospitals can use telehealth services to quickly assess patients to determine the most appropriate site of care, freeing emergency space for those that need it most. New rules ensure that patients can be screened at alternate treatment and testing sites which are not subject to the Emergency Medical Labor and Treatment Act (EMTALA) as long as the national emergency remains in force. This will allow hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) to screen patients at a location offsite from the hospital’s campus to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (3/30/20)

Allows hospitals and healthcare systems to increase their workforce capacity by removing barriers for physicians, nurses, and other clinicians to be readily hired from the local community

“Local private practice clinicians and their trained staff may be available for temporary employment since nonessential medical and surgical services are postponed during the public health emergency. CMS’s temporary requirements allow hospitals and healthcare systems to increase their workforce capacity by removing barriers for physicians, nurses, and other clinicians to be readily hired from the local community as well as those licensed from other states without violating Medicare rules.” – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (3/30/20)

Allows non-physician practitioners (physician assistants, nurse practitioners) a wider scope of practice, like ordering tests and medications

“CMS is issuing waivers so that hospitals can use other practitioners, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, to the fullest extent possible, in accordance with a state’s emergency preparedness or pandemic plan. These clinicians can perform services such as order tests and medications that may have previously required a physician’s order where this is permitted under state law.” – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (3/30/20)

Waives the requirement that certified registered nurse anesthetists be under the supervision of a physician

“CMS is waiving the requirements that a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is under the supervision of a physician. This will allow CRNAs to function to the fullest extent allowed by the state, and free up physicians from the supervisory requirement and expand the capacity of both CRNAs and physicians.” – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (3/30/20)

American’s For Tax Freedom also lists suspended state rules and regulations. Most of these deal with licensing restrictions.

Laws That Limit The Number of Doctors and Medical Care Professionals (as Such Laws Reduce Competition and Increases Prices)

Arizona – Expanding scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists

“Governor Ducey notified the Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of his decision to exempt the State of Arizona from a federal regulation requiring Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) to be supervised by a physician. The reform will expand access to care, especially in rural areas, and free up physicians for other needed medical services.” – Office of Governor Doug Ducey (3/24/20)

Colorado – Interstate reciprocity for health care licenses

“In order to scale up our health care workforce capacity, I have asked the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies to cut through the red tape on licensing our medical professionals so that medical professionals – including pharmacists, nurses, doctors – who are licensed in other states but residing here can be immediately licensed in Colorado as quickly as possible to address this shortage.” – Office of Governor Jared Polis (3/13/20)

Connecticut – Established interstate reciprocity for health care licenses

“Permits physicians, nurses, respiratory care practitioners, emergency medical services personnel, and other health care practitioners who are licensed in another state to provide temporary assistance in Connecticut for a period of 60 days.” – Connecticut’s Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (3/23/20)

Maryland – Established interstate reciprocity for health care licenses

“Prior to this new rule, state regulation was such that only people with health care licenses issued by the state could practice in Maryland.” – Office of Governor Larry Hogan (3/16/20)

Massachusetts – Licensed medical workers able to get Mass. licenses in one day

Gov. Baker is now allowing licensed medical workers from other states to get a Massachusetts license in one day. – New England Public Radio (3/15/20)

Iowa – Reduced number of hours of experience needed for medical students to obtain a license if the higher education institution approves

“I temporarily suspend the regulatory provisions… to the extent that they require a minimum number of hours of field experience if the higher education institution providing practitioner preparation program determines that the student has completed sufficient field experience to determine that the student should be recommended for licensure.” – Office of Governor Kim Reynolds (3/17/20)

Maine – Easing restrictions on physician assistants’ ability to provide care

LD 1660 expanded the ability of physician assistants to provide health care, reducing the regulatory burden on health care providers, adjusting licensing rules, and making it easier to hire physician assistants. – Maine Legislature (3/17/20)

Michigan – Non-nursing assistants allowed to give a broader scope of care

“Effective immediately and continuing through April 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs may allow a non-nursing assistant such as an activity coordinator, social worker, or volunteer to help feed or transport a patient or resident in a manner consistent with the patient’s or resident’s care plan.” – Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (3/18/20)

Laws That Restrict The Creation of Hospitals and Nursing Homes

Connecticut – Office of Health Strategy to waive Certificates of Need

“Authorizes the Office of Health Strategy to waive Certificates of Need and other requirements to ensure adequate availability of healthcare resources and facilities.” – Office of Governor Ned Lamont (3/14/20)

Indiana – Waives certificate of need requirements for nursing homes

“The State Health Commissioner is authorized to waive the requirements of the nursing home certificate of need statute, as the Commissioner deems necessary to respond to COVID-19 issues for nursing homes and on terms and conditions appropriate for each situation.” – Office of Governor Eric Holcomb (3/19/20)

Indiana – Waives requirements for pre-approval of care spaces

“Waives requirement of pre-approval for hospitals converting non-isolation rooms to isolation rooms, so long as they send notice to ISDH and request an inspection. Waives requirement of pre-approval for hospitals converting unused or unlicensed space to temporary patient rooms. Specifies that room and units previously approved but not in current use may be operationalized without review or inspection.” – Office of Governor Eric Holcomb (3/21/20)

Michigan – DHHS loosens certificate of need requirements

“Effective immediately and continuing through April 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm, the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) may issue an emergency certificate of need to an applicant and defer strict compliance with the procedural requirements of section 22235 of the Public Health Code, 1978 PA 368, as amended, MCL 333.22235, until the termination of the state of emergency under section 3 of Executive Order 2020-4.” – Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (3/18/20)

Michigan – Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs allowed to grant a waiver for rules that previously limited the number of hospital beds and mobile health care facilities

“Effective immediately and continuing through April 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”) may grant a waiver under section 21564 of the Public Health Code, 1978 PA 368, as amended, MCL 333.21564, to any licensed hospital in this state, regardless of number of beds or location, for the purpose of providing care during the COVID-19 emergency, to construct, acquire, or operate a temporary or mobile facility for any health care purpose, regardless of where the facility is located.” – Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (3/18/20)

Virginia – Lifted “Certificate of Need” law regarding hospital beds

“”That order lifts our certificate of public need restrictions, so that our health commissioner can give hospitals and nursing homes the authority to add the beds they need without going through red tape,” Northam said, during a Saturday morning press briefing. “They can act quickly to respond to the needs in this fast-changing situation.”” – Patch (3/21/20)

Laws That Ban Plastic Bags (as Reusable Bags Increase Chance of Spreading the Virus)

Connecticut – Suspension of Tax on Single-Use Checkout Bags

“Temporary Suspension of Tax on Single-Use Checkout Bags. All provisions of Section 355 of Public Act 19-117, as codified in Section 22a246a of the 2020 Supplement to the Connecticut General Statutes, regarding single-use plastic checkout bags, are temporarily suspended through May 15, 2020, unless earlier modified, extended, or terminated by me. The Commissioner of Revenue Services shall issue any implementing order he deems necessary, and any guidance for businesses on accounting or other necessary measures during this temporary suspension.” – Office of Governor Ned Lamont (3/26/20)

Maine – Plastic bag ban suspended

Emergency legislation pushes back the effective date of the statewide plastic bag ban from April 22 to Jan. 15, 2021. – Maine Legislature (3/18/20)

Massachusetts – Local bans on plastic bags lifted

“Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has… lifted local bans on plastic bags at grocery stores and pharmacies as part of his administration’s latest steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus.” – Boston Business Journal (3/25/20)

Visit American’s For Tax Freedom for the full (and updated) list.

Yaron Brook on How a Capitalist Society Would Respond to the Health Care Crisis

Yaron Brook, in an excellent Twitter thread, makes an off the cuff outline of how he thinks a free-market would respond to the COVID-19 crisis:

In a truly capitalist society, here is how the market responds:

1. Health insurance companies monitor for health risks (they have an economic interest to do so).

2. Warn early — implement plans with hospitals, that have been developed well in advance.

3. Demand from hospitals for extra equipment, causes prices to go up quickly.

4. The market responds by bringing on new capacity quickly.

5. Groceries raise prices on high in-demand goods, thus reducing “hoarding” and assuring continued supply.

6. Hospitals (all private, and in a completely private market) activate emergency plans (which they have a profit-motive to have) for additional beds (in mothballed buildings, local hotels, or other facilities).

7. Private pharmaceutical companies and labs develop tests at the request of hospitals and clinics.

8. Private clinics start testing in mass.

9. Goverment’s job — to make sure those who are a threat to others, are isolated.

10. Private media and health experts, provide objective (non-political) advice to individuals and companies on how to deal, in the context of their own lives, with the pandemic.

11. Testing provides individuals and companies with the kind of information crucial to making rational decisions.

12. Private labs and pharma companies rush to innovate treatments and vaccines.

13. Private testing and certification organizations (“FDA” replacements) ramp up to approve test kits, treatments, and vaccines.

14. Business adjusts to peoples’ preferences for safety. Put in necessary protections and conveniences…

15. People who don’t follow the reasonable guidelines suffer social ostracism and left to suffer consequences.

16. Insurance contracts could be written in ways that say — if you want to be covered, behave…

Feel free to add — private market responses to pandemic…

You can read the original thread and the responses here.

A $300 3D-Printable Automated Ventilator

 

A team at Rice University has developed an automated bag valve mask ventilation unit that can be built for less than $300 in parts and help patients in treatment for COVID-19. The university expects to make plans to build the unit freely available online. Up-to-date details about the project, dubbed the ApolloBVM, and its progress are available here: http://oedk.rice.edu/apollobvm/

From U.S. Hospitals Have a Ventilator Shortage. A Team of Rice Engineers Say They Have a Solution (Texas Monthly):

Tonight, [Thomas] Herring and five other engineers are rushing to finish a project that is arguably among the most consequential in the world at the moment, one that could be deployed to the public as early as next week: a $300 3D-printable automated ventilator.

If successful, the ventilation unit—a DIY device that looks like the work of a high school robotics club—could go into mass production as early as next week, offering hospitals around the world a way to address a ventilator shortage that is expected to kill thousands of coronavirus patients suffering from the respiratory illness in the coming weeks.

High-quality ventilators like the kinds hospitals rely on can easily cost $10,000 apiece. Faced with shortages, doctors might soon have to make tough decisions about redistributing them from older patients to younger, healthier ones, many experts believe.

Many hospitals have an abundant supply, however, of bag valve masks, which are hand-operated ventilators that are inefficient and difficult for one person to operate for more than an hour at a time; they require a rotation of people to keep the patient alive.

The Rice prototype automates the pumping of the bag and can be specifically calibrated for each patient’s needs. With mechanized bag valve masks on hand, hospitals could buy themselves some time, allowing them to redistribute limited resources, move patients to other facilities, or allow family members the chance to say goodbye to loved ones who have no chance of recovery and might otherwise be taken off in-demand machines.

The Rice team believes they can eventually lower the cost of their units to somewhere between $100 and $200. The low cost was built into the engineering. The machines were designed using laser cutters and 3D printers, as well as parts that can be found in most hardware stores. “Houston and the rest of the U.S. may have manufacturers that can make these things by the hundreds,” Kavalewitz said, “but a small hospital in Malawi doesn’t have that luxury, but we’ll be able to give the plans to save lives.”

The Department of Defense is interested in their design and several Texas Fortune 500 companies have expressed interest in producing the model, team members say. The governor of Tennessee has also expressed interest in purchasing the machines once they’re completed.

Read the rest here.