i-95 philadelphia

Jennifer Stefano: Forget I-95, Gov. Shapiro should slash the bureaucracy for everybody

Gov. Josh Shapiro should expand the use of bureaucracy-slashing tactics like those that helped expedite I-95 repairs, columnist and Commonwealth Foundation Executive Vice President Jennifer Stefano wrote Monday in The Philadelphia Inquirer. “And it shouldn’t just be for road building, but across all departments — especially health care.”

Stefano recounts the story of her friend April—a cancer patient—who, during Covid, benefited from state telehealth regulation waivers but today faces bureaucratic hurdles.

Thank goodness so many restrictions were waived, and we were able to get [April] an emergency exemption. But neither former Gov. Tom Wolf nor Shapiro has made telemedicine waivers permanent. Most of the waivers expired at the end of October 2022.

At the height of the pandemic, lawmakers and Shapiro’s predecessor extended active waivers on hundreds of health-care regulations,including loosening restrictions on telehealth. Telehealth exploded during the pandemic. In Pennsylvania, Penn Medicine hosted more than a million telemedicine visits during the first year of the pandemic — a 9,000% increase from the year prior.

April is still having to fight her way through Pennsylvania’s red tape simply to access the medical care that she desperately needs. …

This time, there are no waivers for her to get the second opinion. … 

If Shapiro recognizes that bureaucracy is a problem for roads, then he should refocus on alleviating the burdensome rules and regulations that slow down everything necessary for the health, safety, and well-being of all Pennsylvanians. We don’t need excessive rules and regulations on our roads or for our health care.

You can read Stefano’s full column here.


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