Some regulations lifted to help businesses and consumers survive the COVID-19 pandemic have bipartisan support in being permanently nixed as the world starts returning to normal, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (April 6).
Cocktails to go, the interstate sharing of healthcare professionals and expanded Medicare reimbursement for telemed visits could all end up being part of the economic fabric going forward. Some states are also working on the best way to keep regulations in place to continue allowing online notarization, curbside cannabis pickup and other new businesses and models to come out of the pandemic.
Lawmakers in about 20 states gave bars and restaurants permission to sell takeout cocktails to help businesses stay afloat during lockdown restrictions. The move also helped consumers get their happy hour fix to go during a time when being socially distanced was critical.
Many states are also looking into easing licensing requirements so that essential healthcare personnel can be shared across state lines if need be. Emergency measures were enacted to allow just that during the height of the pandemic.
Although deregulation is a stance largely associated with Republicans, some changes fueled by the pandemic have bipartisan support.
“I’m a Democrat. I’m not instinctively antiregulation. But I think this pandemic reminds us that some regulations are from a bygone era and make no sense for anyone anymore,’’ said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), per the WSJ. He is heading the Senate’s push to permanently expand Medicare coverage for telehealth visits.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) said in his state of the state address in January that since regulations were successfully lifted in the midst of a crisis, “… we have to ask ourselves, why was it there in the first place, and can we live without it?”
The alcohol to go stance permitted during the pandemic also necessitated changes to the enforcement of drinking in public laws. The ban on takeaway cocktails was temporarily lifted in 33 states and Washington, D.C. The move helped beleaguered eateries rehire bartenders and financially hang on.
Telehealth became the norm during the pandemic and it has now become the focus of a major discussion taking place on Capitol Hill. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) temporarily lifted geographic and site-related restrictions and proponents want to keep the services in place going forward.
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