March 16, 2020

RALEIGH – North Carolina state government has taken important first steps to free health care professionals and facilities from onerous rules that would limit their response to the coronavirus.

But with the virus spreading in North Carolina, state officials can, and should, remove even more barriers to a rapid response, all with an eye toward ensuring easier, faster access to qualified experts. The recommendations are detailed in a policy brief authored by John Locke Foundation Health Care Policy Analyst Jordan Roberts.

Health care is the first focus area of this week’s JLF series of policy briefs. Recommendations keyed to other state policy areas have been released as well, including the state budget (Monday afternoon), K-12 education (Tuesday morning), workers whose jobs are affected (Tuesday afternoon), and red tape/regulations (Wednesday morning).

All briefs and recommendations are available at

In Roberts’ health care brief, he lays out four specific actions to reduce impediments and increase supply of much-needed medical expertise.

1. Waive requirements for out-of-state telemedicine providers

2. Grant pharmacists the ability to test and prescribe medication for non-chronic conditions

3. Grant nurse practitioners full practice authority

4. Request a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver to eliminate burdensome rules with Medicaid

Roberts also recommends that the temporary actions already made become permanent. Details of his four new recommendations are available in the brief.

“State officials correctly recognize that over-regulation impedes access to care,” Roberts said. “This virus requires a rapid response, and by implementing these common-sense reforms, we can unleash the talent and technology necessary to care for those who are ill and to prevent unnecessary spread of the virus. Let’s do it now.”