WASHINGTON – Today, in a letter to House and Senate leadership, Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Mike Johnson (LA-04) and RSC Health Care Task Force Chairman Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01) released nine conservative policy recommendations to provide the U.S. health care system with the stability and flexibility it needs to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic (click here to view the signed letter). The proposal is one of five pillars in RSC’s 37-point Conservative Framework for Recovery, Accountability and Prosperity (click here for more information).
The recommendations – which build on innovative, private sector-driven successes achieved through the elimination of onerous regulatory barriers – aim to strengthen our health care system in a way that puts patients first, equips health care providers with the supplies they need, and fast-tracks the development of COVID-19 treatments.
More than one year before the emergence of COVID-19, RSC’s Health Care Task began examining innovative policy ideas to shift power in the U.S. health care system away from government bureaucrats to patients and doctors. As a result of that work, which culminated with the Oct. 2019 release of the RSC Health Care Plan, the Task Force stands fully prepared in these unprecedented times to offer Americans an alternative to hastily-drawn proposals that ignore the well-documented failures of big government, single-payer systems in the United Kingdom and Italy.
To that end, the Task Force urges lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to work together to quickly implement the following innovative solutions to unleash the full potential of the U.S. health care system in the fight against COVID-19:
- Suspend the requirement that HSAs be tied to a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
- Have the FDA fast-track the approval here of any device or drug already approved to test for COVID-19 in one or more allied countries.
- Establish a Pharmaceutical Chief Negotiator at the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to identify and address protectionist measures that could disrupt supply chains or freeload on innovative investments. This new official would also use enforcement tools against foreign governments that exploit protectionist measures to devalue and impose price controls on American innovation.
- Remove regulatory barriers to the production of drugs, pharmaceutical ingredients and medical devices in America to support the onshoring of manufacturing and reduce financial risk for manufacturers who relocate or expand production capacity in the United States. Allow businesses to fully and immediately expense their investments in research and development and physical capital.
- Utilize EUREKA prize competitions to incentivize the rapid development of a therapeutic drug or drugs to treat COVID-19 now and in subsequent waves.
- Suspend the ban on new physician-owned hospitals (POHs) to allow for hospital supply to catch up with the rapid uptick in demand for hospital services.
- Encourage states to suspend certificate-of-need laws which restrict the ability of hospitals and hospital systems to add capacity, which can have devastating effects during a crisis.
- Direct the Federal Aviation Administration to relax federal restrictions on drone deliveries of medical supplies.
- Build upon the CARES Act and efforts of the Trump administration to further expand the availability of telemedicine services and encourage licensing reciprocity to allow for telemedicine delivery across state lines.
- Ensure that new funding, subsidies, tax credits, and reforms cannot be used to provide access to elective abortions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that innovative health care policies which put patients and doctors first can mean the difference between life and death,” said Johnson. “The solutions put forward by the RSC Health Care Task Force will build on those lessons by cutting red to tape to fast-track treatments and get our health care heroes the equipment they need to do their jobs and return home safely to their families. I hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will work us to put these recommendations into action as soon as possible.”
“Our health care providers have been at the forefront of this pandemic and will remain a vital part of our country’s ability to reopen and defeat this virus,” said Marshall. “As a physician I have volunteered my time, working alongside other providers in treating patients with the virus and seeing just how hard our doctors and nurses work every day to help others. As we continue to ask our health care industry to lead this charge, we cannot allow government bureaucracy and red tape to slow our use of tests and treatment for COVID-19. Unleashing the power and innovation of our nation’s health care system will be instrumental in the long-term health of our nation and the success of our fight against the virus.”