Virus Outbreak Ohio

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton gives an update at MetroHealth Medical Center Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Cleveland, on the state's preparedness and education efforts to limit the potential spread of a new virus which caused a disease called COVID-19.

(The Center Square) – Ohio should universally recognize out-of-state medical licenses and avoid tax increases and tax code changes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Buckeye Institute said in new recommendations.

The think tank included the recommendations in a new policy brief, “Policy Solutions for the Pandemic: How Ohio Can Fight the Impact of Coronavirus.” The recommendations outline “solutions that will strengthen Ohio’s health care system and provide for families and businesses facing unexpected economic hardship,” Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and vice president of policy, said in a statement.

“As the coronavirus pandemic threatens to overwhelm economies and health care systems, Ohio’s policymakers must continue to act swiftly and boldly to protect citizens from the COVID-19 virus and its pernicious economic effects,” Hederman added.

Hederman co-authored the brief with Andrew J. Kidd, an economist at the Economic Research Center; Lukas Spitzwieser, an economic policy analyst at the Economic Research Center; and James B. Woodward, an economic research analyst at the Economic Research Center.

The paper offers five recommendations to help Ohio’s health care system fight the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to recognizing out-of-state medical licenses. Other recommendations are:

  • Join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact
  • Mandate testing and treatment price transparency
  • Use nursing and medical students to help doctors and nurses
  • Allow pharmacists to treat common illnesses and prescribe medication to relieve the pressure on the state’s health care system

The group also offered four recommendations to protect Ohio from virus-induced economic impacts on top of avoiding tax increases and tax law changes. Other recommendations are:

Reprioritize government spending to help manage the crisis

  • Request help from the federal government for state unemployment benefits, including an interest-free federal loan to support Ohio’s unemployment insurance trust fund
  • Request federal benefits and daycare for hourly workers

Gov. Mike DeWine has taken a series of actions to fight COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As of Sunday, Ohio had 351 confirmed cases, and three people died in the state from the virus, officials said.

The state has put in place an order mandating residents to stay at home except for “essential activities” as it tries to curb the spread of the virus. The “Stay at Home” order closes all nonessential businesses and takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday and remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 6, unless state officials revoke or change it.