by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
In his recent opinion piece for Carolina Journal, Mitch Kokai illuminates the ways the government restricts the supply of health care in the United States. Kokai writes:
N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen’s March 10 presentation to state lawmakers is worthy of attention today. Cohen’s words remind us about the importance of health care supply…
“Testing capacity is not where I would like to see it,” she warned. A state lab had the ability to run its own coronavirus tests as of March 2, Cohen said. “So we have the capability to test. However, we are short on supplies…”
The private Burlington-based LabCorp had started its own testing, using a different method. That method required permission from regulators at the federal Food and Drug Administration, Cohen explained.
This situation raises many questions. Kokai asks:
Why does one manufacturer serve as the sole source for critical testing reagents at labs across the country? Why does North Carolina rely on the federal government as the chief source for its testing supplies? Why does the testing method depend solely on approval from federal regulators?
It is not just supply chain logistics for Coronavirus-specific testing that is in short supply. The government restricts the supply of many health care products in the United States. Kokai explains:
Telemedicine restrictions can block patients from dealing with doctors who have no in-state licenses. Scope-of-practice rules can prevent highly trained nurses and nurse practitioners from taking care of health care services that don’t require an advanced medical degree. The state certificate-of-need law blocks health care providers from expanding facilities, adding new ones, or purchasing major medical equipment to serve patients with more convenience and efficiency.