As of April 10, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam has signed into law nearly all of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy’s initial telehealth priorities—and several more have been federally permitted during the current COVID-19 health crisis. Three years ago, the Virginia Institute and their coalition members opened a discussion on healthcare supply in the Commonwealth, and it looks like those policies are going to be what allows Virginia’s healthcare system to weather the current storm of COVID-19.
According to the Mercatus Center’s Healthcare Openness and Access Project (HOAP), Virginia has moved up to fourth place in the country with regards to freedom in healthcare delivery. This is largely due to the significant changes which VIPP and the Tuesday Morning Coalition (VIPP’s group to address taxes, property rights, and education reform) have been able to accomplish over the last three years—and this is only the beginning.
Furthermore, certificate-of-need has been loosened in the state, galvanizing significant discussion about whether these laws are necessary at all. As the Virginia Institute’s healthcare initiative moves forward, certificate-of-need reform will become a top priority for the organization.
Additionally, VIPP, along with groups such as The Middle Resolution, and the Conservative Legislative Information Council of Virginia, as well as Delegate Dave LaRock are working to get ahead of Virginia’s impending budget crisis. Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne suggested that the Commonwealth faces at least a $2 billion shortfall in revenues in 2020; unfortunately, the state only has access to about $1.8 billion in liquidity. This situation would be bad enough if the General Assembly had not passed a biennial budget which assumed a 17 percent increase in revenues through 2022!
The Virginia Institute and its partners are leveraging every corner of their network to push the state to call for a re-enactment of every piece of legislation passed in 2020 which would (1) increase state spending, and (2) increase taxes or regulations on individual Virginians or their businesses. Essentially, this would mean that these bills are revisited in the 2021 session of the General Assembly, after we know exactly what the economy will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic begins to settle down.
The Virginia Institute applauds Delegate LaRock’s recent demand, “It’s time Virginia focuses on how COVID-19 is affecting our citizens first, and on our own pet projects second.” This is the type of leadership the Virginia Institute hopes to see from Governor Northam as well.