News and Commentary
The Institute for Justice released a series of videos explaining the problems with occupational licensing. These videos elicited a knee-jerk response from Think Progress. The author, Josh Israel, seemed unaware that on average as little as 10 percent of a cosmetologist’s mandatory training is devoted to safety concerns. Unable show real health benefits stemming from licensing, the concluding argument of the piece claimed that at least these laws made consumers feel safer. But given people’s willingness to eat at to restaurants and visit car mechanics (two generally unlicensed industries), it seems the once again lighter touch regulation is the answer.
A rule change in Vermont should make it easier to become a funeral director. The amendment should drop the estimated cost of certification from sixty thousand dollars to eight thousand dollars, according to VTDigger.
Meanwhile, North Carolina is considering a bill to create a licensing procedure for birthing centers. The legislation is in response to the deaths of three babies at a now-closed center. There is oft-cited evidence that the introduction of midwife licenses delivered real mortality decreases; however, that evidence is from the 1940s so it can not be neatly applied to our current times.
Medical Corner: The American Journal of Managed Care conducted a literature review on the controversies surrounding advanced practice providers. They conclude that the “quality of care is similar among NPs [nurse practitioners], PAs [physician assisstants], and physicians for routine patient presentations, but evidence is less robust for complex patients.”
Meanwhile, America is suffering from a growing shortage of healthcare providers. An article in US News lays out a series of potential solutions: creating training programs targetting members of underserved communities, expanding the role for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, unleashing telemedicine, and reducing physician burnout.
Three interesting papers were published with implications on healthcare access and practitioner regulations. First, there is a strong positive correlation between permissive scope of practice rules and the concentration of certified registered nurse anesthetist in rural areas. Second, physicians meaningfully reduced the number of opioids they prescribed, after a Kentucky law forced them to examine each patient’s history with prescription drugs. Third, the closure of rural hospital tends to increase the regional mortality rate by 5.9%. Access to care matters.