A Primer on Emergency Occupational Licensing Reforms for Combating COVID-19

10 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2020

See all articles by Ethan Bayne

Ethan Bayne

Independent

Conor Norris

Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation

Edward Timmons

West Virginia University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 26, 2020

Abstract

The pandemic of COVID-19 has created a significant strain on the healthcare system in the United States. As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to spread, these numbers are only expected to increase, and with that so does the potential to overwhelm the US healthcare system.

American regulatory policy limits the country’s healthcare capacity in a variety of ways. In response, states must consider a range of temporary measures to allow the supply of healthcare professionals to meet the sudden growing demand and provide adequate care to patients. The existing web of state occupational licensing laws creates rigidity in healthcare labor supply. In this brief we highlight actions states have taken to reform occupational licensing, and we produce a novel ranking of these interventions as guidance to policymakers.

In this special edition policy brief, we highlight how occupational licensing creates a lack of flexibility in the market for healthcare professionals. We then analyze recent action taken by states to combat the crisis, and we offer a novel ranking of which interventions are likely to be most effective in adding healthcare staff capacity.

Keywords: coronavirus; COVID-19; pandemic; healthcare; health policy; hospitals; state policy; medicine, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, optician, physician, telemedicine, health insurance, certificate of need, health data

JEL Classification: H75, I18, J44, K2, O38, H7, I1, O3

Suggested Citation

Bayne, Ethan and Norris, Conor and Timmons, Edward, A Primer on Emergency Occupational Licensing Reforms for Combating COVID-19 (March 26, 2020). Mercatus Special Edition Policy Brief, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3562340 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3562340

Ethan Bayne

Independent

Conor Norris

Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Edward Timmons (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - Department of Economics ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

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