This op-ed by SPN Vice President of Policy Advancement Kathleen O’Hearn first published at US News & World Report.
While the newly signed COVID-19 relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, expands the Affordable Care Act and moves us toward more centralized health care, we need to look to the states to consider a different path forward: one that will lead to lower costs and more accessible health care in our country.
The year 2020 will go down in the history books as one of disruption, loss and innovation. However, the untold story is the massive actions states took to save lives and livelihoods by deregulating and expanding their health care delivery systems. States were in the best position to make a rapid difference because they were closer to the communities and people who needed help over the past year.
Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020, at least 40 states have taken action to expand health care access to ensure we could fight this virus head-on. Reforms included removing regulations and expanding access to telemedicine, allowing doctors to practice across state lines, and suspending certificate of need (CON) laws that restricted increasing hospital beds and necessary medical equipment.