Deep Dive Episode 98 – Regulatory Reforms and the COVID Pandemic

Regulatory Transparency Project Teleforum

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Governments at all levels are figuring out how to make sure sick people are treated and that coronavirus doesn’t spread. Some experts are now drawing attention to possible regulatory reforms, as early reports suggested that federal agencies may have prevented private testing for COVID-19 before slowly issuing approval.

Others are calling for state-level reforms, such as changes to occupational licensing requirements. Existing occupational licensing laws arguably restrict medical professionals, including nurses and pharmacists, from practicing to the full scope of their training by limiting what duties they can take on and making nurses practice under doctor supervision. Licenses rarely transfer across state lines. This means that qualified doctors in one state cannot practice in other states, severely restricting their ability to provide telehealth services to potential patients. Advocates posit that these doctors should be allowed to prioritize the most pressing cases on telehealth. Many states have implemented emergency reforms regarding these issues to help prevent physician burnout and make sure medical professionals can focus their energies where needed.

Municipal-level reforms are also being discussed as vital to avoid penalizing residents for acting responsibly. In many localities, working from home requires the worker to overcome regulatory requirements. Some view this as generally unwise but are now drawing even greater attention to the topic because Americans are being urged to stay inside.

Further, while some regulations like parking limits make perfect sense in normal times, is suspending such rules worth considering in the current environment? This episode will discuss these issues and more.


  • David Hyman, Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Health Law & Policy, Georgetown University
  • Roger Klein, Faculty Fellow, Center for Law, Science & Innovation, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
  • Shoshana Weissmann, Senior Manager of Digital Media and Fellow, R Street Institute

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