Medical Licensure Should Be National – Sorry Nebraska

I hate when I miss the policy studies from the Cato Institute. Did you miss it too? The one about medical licensing? See, in the United States, the authority to regulate medical professionals lies with the states. To practice within a state, doctors must obtain a license from that state’s government. State statutes dictate standards for licensing and disciplining medical professionals. They also list tasks clinicians are allowed to perform. This goes for chiropractors as well. I would dare say that the scope of practice for chiropractors from one state to the next can be dramatically different. A fact that caused one of my MD friends to exclaim that the human body doesn’t change when it crosses state lines.

The Cato Institute argues that state licensure not only fails to protect consumers from incompetent physicians, but, by raising barriers to entry, makes health care more expensive and less accessible. Institutional oversight and a sophisticated network of private accrediting and certification organizations, all motivated by the need to protect reputations and avoid legal liability, offer whatever consumer protections exist today.

Consumers would benefit if states to eliminate professional licensing in medicine and leave education, credentialing, and scope-of-practice decisions entirely to the private sector and the courts.

Good call, Cato! This is not a desire to reduce state’s rights but rather to standardize a system that would benefit all by being more nationally homogeneous. Let medicine police itself….and remind me to send a box of chocolates to the Cato Institute, I think they could use break.


Dr. Brett Kinsler is a chiropractor in Rochester, NY but his skills are the same when he crosses state lines.  His office website is

1 Comment

  1. October 29, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Many thanks to Christopher from the Cato Institute for being a reader of this blog and for contacting me and offering to send me medical and healthcare articles from Cato as they become available. He may have just been trying to get the box of chocolates but I appreciate the gesture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: