As Americans endure a pandemic of COVID-19, there is much to criticize regarding the public health orders that authorities at various levels have issued and the way in which they have issued them. However, a wave of deregulation temporarily is transforming some aspects of state health-care policy for the better. Calling attention to these actions can encourage other states to follow suit now—and increase the chance of achieving permanent deregulation later.

Below are five broad areas in which state responses to the COVID-19 crisis have been promising. This is not a comprehensive list, but it illustrates this trend. . . .


1. Morris M. Kleiner, “Occupational Licensing: Protecting the Public Interest or Protectionism?,” W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Policy Paper No. 2011-009,

2. H. A. Holm, “Quality Issues in Continuing Medical Education.” BMJ (clinical research ed.) vol. 316,7131 (1998): 621–24; Kamran Ahmed et al., “The Effectiveness of Continuing Medical Education for Specialist Recertification,” Canadian Urological Association Journal 7, no. 7–8 (2013): 266–72.

3. Jared Rhoads et al., Healthcare Openness and Access Project 2020: Prerelease (March 25, 2020). Mercatus Working Paper, available at SSRN,

4. James Bailey, “Can Health Spending Be Reined in through Supply Restraints? An Evaluation of Certificate-of-Need Laws,” Journal of Public Health 27, no. 6 (2019): 755–60.

5. Robert Higgs, Crisis and Leviathan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).

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