Gov. Little’s leadership during COVID-19 will have lasting impact on Idaho health care

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Gov. Little approached the COVID-19 pandemic like he approaches most challenges: with an eye toward deregulation and empowering Idahoans to rise to the occasion. His swift efforts to break down barriers to health care by increasing access to telehealth services and easing licensing laws enabled more Idahoans to stay healthy, invited more health care providers to help in the fight against COVID-19, and better positioned the Gem State to make a strong economic recovery. Now, Gov. Little is moving to make many of the flexibilities enacted during the public health crisis permanent, solidifying his commitment to improving Idaho health care.

To summarize the language in his executive order: If easing these rules and regulations were necessary to promote Idahoans’ health and welfare during an emergency, easing these rules and regulations is necessary to promote Idahoans’ health and welfare at any given time. And it’s as true as the day is long.

Government bureaucracy and red tape is a major contributor to the cost of doing business, including the business of health care. A 2017 report from the American Hospital Association found that health systems and hospitals spend a whopping $39 billion each year on regulatory compliance. Consumers ultimately pay the price through decreased access to providers and increased costs for the services they do receive.