Ditch the Old Regulations That Limited Choice and Raised Prices
One unexpected, but welcome, development during the early phases of the coronavirus pandemic was governments lifting regulations on businesses in order to help them survive.
Now that governments are easing restrictions on businesses nationwide, there’s a move to make sure the suspended regulations do not return. According to the Wall Street Journal, the changes range from drive-up liquor sales to telehealth doctor appointments:
The pandemic turbocharged a move toward doing more business online, spurred in part by new smartphone apps and a growing comfort with videoconferencing. Restaurants had already recognized that more patrons wanted to get their meals, complete with alcohol, delivered to their homes. Doctors and nurses noticed their patients wanting to make their visits virtual.
“These regulations fall way behind the technology,’’ said Mary Alvord, a Rockville, Md., psychologist who said her patients have benefited from emergency rules that allow therapy to be offered by video across state lines. Coronavirus, she said, “has raised everyone’s comfort levels. Even my reluctant patients are saying, ‘This is great.’ ”
Not everyone is on board with greater consumer choice, including the old professional cartels whose job is to reduce, or at least strictly manage, competition:
Opponents contend such rules were there for a reason, and that permanently revoking them would create health, safety and fraud risks. Medical groups say out-of-state doctors with spotty records could escape detection. Some city governments warn that takeout cocktails could encourage underage alcohol consumption and drunken driving.
The rebuttal to these ancient charges is to look at what happened when the rules were relaxed. Were the doomsayers right? It looks like things went pretty well – a hard knock on those who would drag the rest of us back to lives with less choice and convenience…and higher prices.