Across the United States, COVID-19 testing supplies are being rationed, resulting in patients being refused testing or experiencing long delays for test results. The result is that we have a diminished understanding of the extent and characteristics of the current pandemic, an impaired ability to slow the spread of the disease with contact tracing, and delayed diagnosis of the disease.
Because the CDC declared coronavirus to be a public health emergency, regulations were triggered that prevented hospitals and private lab companies from developing their own tests. Then, the CDC botched the rollout of the test that they developed, leaving doctors unable to properly diagnose and treat their patients.
“As a practicing hospitalist, I’m furious that my ability to test patients for this disease is curtailed due to CDC-imposed red tape,” said Dr. Kyle Varner, a physician from the state of Washington. “The result is that patients are waiting for extended periods of time for their testing results and experiencing isolation and discomfort, while doctors can only guess at the true extent of the pandemic in their communities.”
Public health authorities in the United States soak up billions of tax dollars per year, run entire federal and state agencies, and regularly lobby congress for more power and tax money. Yet, when the time comes for them to respond to a global pandemic that threatens hundreds of thousands of American lives, they let America down. The result will be that this pandemic will be far more deadly and disruptive than it could have otherwise been.
We may pay taxes to support these agencies and their bureaucrats, but that doesn’t mean we can rely on them to keep us safe or healthy. In fact, during this pandemic, they have been the single biggest obstacle to an effective and life-saving response to the crisis.
“South Korea is able to test 15,000 patients per day, and are even adding drive-through testing, all while American doctors have to ration tests and can’t even know they are infected because there are not enough working tests here,” said Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee. “Instead of allowing medical professionals to get working tests from wherever they can, government regulations stop healers from getting the tools they need to save American lives.”
The lesson for America is simple — while regulations are sold by big government politicians as a way to protect the public, they end up having unintended consequences that hurt the very people they’re meant to help.
“Libertarians want the government to do fewer things,” Sarwark said. “Not everyone agrees. However, we should all agree that the government needs to stop getting in the way of doctors and scientists who want to help and heal. First, do no harm.”
We cannot rely on the government or the CDC to protect us during this crisis — they’ve already proven they are incapable. Luckily, we don’t have to.
At least 12 pharmaceutical companies are developing treatments for COVID-19 infection. Multiple private companies are developing COVID-19 vaccines. Community groups across the country are mobilizing to provide support to their neighbors who may need to isolate themselves in response to the pandemic. Bill Gates is funding a home testing program in the Seattle area. Companies in affected areas are deploying telecommuting technology to facilitate physical distancing while minimizing the economic impact.
The Libertarian Party calls upon the CDC and FDA to stop obstructing the private sector’s response to the crisis, and upon the president to remove all import restrictions on coronavirus tests and to stop putting political considerations ahead of the American people. This is an emergency that bureaucrats are ill-equipped to address. Instead of drowning the private sector in red tape, the federal government should get out of the way and free the creative genius of America’s scientists and business people to tackle this emergency head-on.
Inquiries for either Dr. Kyle Varner or Chariman Nicholas Sarwark may be addressed to [email protected]