The White House is aiming to cut occupational regulations permanently for doctors and nurses that have been suspended temporarily during the pandemic to spur economic growth, a top adviser to President Trump said.
“The White House has a long interest in further cutting down occupational regulations or state licensing requirements that are unnecessary,” said Tomas Philipson, acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. “Obviously, we want to have exams for medical doctors, etc., but that’s something that I think is very valuable in terms of an overall economic agenda.”
The Trump administration has suspended scores of healthcare regulations to give the industry latitude in responding to the pandemic. It has deregulated telemedicine, for example, by allowing doctors to get paid for seeing patients electronically as opposed to in a doctor’s office. Previously, doctors were penalized for seeing patients on a Zoom call, for example, Philipson said, instead of in person.
Giving patients and doctors telemedicine options could boost growth because people often take a day or two days off work to go and see a doctor in person, which Philipson said is “a lot of time off for people in the workforce.”
In the past couple of months, as the pandemic taxed healthcare systems in various states, particularly virus hot spots such as New York City, suspended medical licensing rules allowed doctors and nurses to practice out of state more easily, thereby allowing medical personnel to work at hard-hit, out-of-state hospitals in an emergency. Philipson told the Washington Examiner he hopes that some of these changes can become permanent.
Such changes within the healthcare industry serve as examples of a larger deregulatory push the Trump administration would like to see as states reopen and the economy is resuscitated. Trump signed a new executive order on Tuesday, directing the heads of all federal agencies to waive regulations that could inhibit an economic recovery if it does not impair public health or safety. The order also directs agencies to provide guidance to businesses for what the law requires so they feel more confident reopening.
Deregulatory initiatives have been a major feature of the Trump presidency and are likely to be a central component of Trump’s legacy. Trump, since taking office in 2017, has been working on rolling back Obama-era regulations, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington.
Even during the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has pressed forward with deregulatory efforts unrelated to the virus. The Environmental Protection Agency recently rolled back auto emission standards set by the Obama administration, and the Education Department reworked Obama administration rules regarding university handling of sexual misconduct charges.