In many states across the country, another COVID-19 wave appears to be taking shape. And sadly, thanks to its overcaution and risk aversion, government is making things worse.

This week, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advisory panel issued a “pause” on the administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine over an “abundance of caution.” The reason for the caution? Six cases of potentially dangerous blood clotting—out of nearly 8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses administered.

“Potential adverse events should be taken seriously, and the loss of one patient and suffering of the others should not be minimized in any way,” writes Goldwater Director of Healthcare Policy Naomi Lopez at In Defense of Liberty. “But the reality of medicine is that every treatment carries risk, as well as the risks of non-treatment.” And in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the impacts of this pause may ultimately cause unnecessary confusion and harm, in the form of tightened availability and vaccine hesitancy among Americans.

“As the CDC advisory panel takes more time to evaluate the pause decision and next steps, we may be undermining our nation’s dual goals of public health and economic recovery,” Lopez writes. “In the face of the potential risks with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there is something that we do know: This pause means more Americans are going unvaccinated, and government’s risk aversion could be powering our next COVID wave.” At the Goldwater Institute, we have a plan to get bureaucracy out of the way and make healthcare more patient-centric—you can read our blueprint for healthcare reform, Putting Patients First: Unleashing Innovation in American Healthcare, here.

Read Lopez’s full post here. And to learn more about the potential impacts of the pause, you can listen to Lopez’s appearance on KJZZ’s “The Show” earlier this week.

A Decade of School Choice Successes across the Country

One major school choice innovation is turning 10 this year—and some states are marking the occasion by expanding that form of educational freedom to more students.

A decade ago, the Goldwater Institute crafted and worked to pass the nation’s first education savings account (ESA) program. ESAs allow families to receive a portion of the dollars being used on their children’s education and instead use that money to pay for tuition, tutors, and teaching tools that best meet their child’s educational needs and set them up for success. Through the years, Goldwater has been working with our peers across the country to make similar reforms in their own states. And today, Goldwater has worked to bring ESA programs to eight states.

At In Defense of Liberty, Goldwater Director of Education Policy and Director of the Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy Matt Beienburg rounds up some of the ongoing efforts to expand ESAs in Kentucky and West Virginia. “It’s clear from the spate of new bills under consideration and laws being passed by state legislatures that families are hungry for more learning options,” Beienburg writes. “And as ESAs enter their second decade, it’s heartening to see that states are continuing to realize that their students deserve a wider range of educational opportunities to put them on the path to success.”

You can read the full blog post here.

Should You Have to Give up Your Free Speech Rights to Do Your Job?

Why should Amy Pomeroy pay for speech she doesn’t believe in? She shouldn’t—and that’s why she’s teamed up with the Goldwater Institute to say “no more.”

As an attorney practicing in the state of Utah, Pomeroy is required to join and pay annual fees to the Utah State Bar in order to practice law. But those fees are often used to pay for activities she doesn’t support. This week, Pomeroy—represented by the Goldwater Institute—filed a lawsuit to challenge the requirement that she join a bar association and pay these mandatory fees.

As the lawsuit points out, the state has no excuse for making lawyers like her join or pay a bar association, let alone one that engages in political advocacy. Twenty states already regulate the legal profession without infringing attorneys’ First Amendment rights, and there’s no reason Utah couldn’t do that, too. Pomeroy joins other attorneys represented by the Goldwater Institute who have sued to stop their states from forcing them to associate with and subsidize bar associations’ speech—in Oregon, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

You can read more about Pomeroy’s case—and about Goldwater’s other efforts to protect attorneys’ free speech rights from overreaching bar associations—in a new In Defense of Liberty post from Goldwater Senior Attorney Jacob Huebert here.

WEDNESDAY WEBINAR—Right to Try: Giving Patients a Fighting Chance

In May 2018, the Goldwater Institute’s Right to Try became the law of the land, allowing terminally ill patients to access investigational treatments that have yet to receive final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). What has been the impact of Right to Try so far—and where is our work to advance healthcare freedom going next?

This Wednesday (April 21) at 1pm ET, the Minnesota chapter of the Federalist Society will host a special webinar to discuss these questions. Goldwater Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur, who co-drafted the Right to Try initiative, will join former Minnesota State Representative Nick Zerwas, whose life was saved as a result of an experimental heart treatment when he was fifteen years old, and Howard Root, who founded a highly successful worldwide medical device company.

You can register for next Wednesday’s webinar here.

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