News and Commentary
A new working paper analyzes the relationship between occupational licensing and job mobility in the United States. It finds worse mobility by various metrics of job entry and interstate mobility in states with stricter licensing regimes. The author has summarized their paper in a CEPR Vox column here.
Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed a new set of bills into law related to the Covid-19 crisis. Among them is a law that will temporarily allow professional and occupational licensing boards to more quickly provide licenses for out-of-state medical workers. Hopefully the success of this law can be the first step to enabling greater flexibility for all workers who move states.
The economist Tyler Cowen released his own set of policy recommendations to address the recession due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He suggests some great ideas including relaxing licensing standards for medical professionals so they can more easily work anywhere in the country.
Mississippi regulators have been trying to take down an online map service that effectively surveys property boundaries for customers using publicly available descriptions and satellite imagery. Despite charging them with unlicensed surveying, Walter Olson at Overlawyered notes the Fifth Circuit states there is no occupational speech exception to the First Amendment. Olson has also blogged on the Covid-19 emergency’s ability to shed light on poorly implemented regulations and tariffs that impede effective response. So much for no libertarians in an epidemic.
The Mercatus Center has a new article on the necessity of eliminating Certificate-of-Need laws now that additional hospital capacity has become so urgent. 28 states still use such CON laws to require approval processes for various expansion plans by hospitals.
The state of New Mexico recently passed a law allowing license reciprocity for military families. Here’s hoping they follow the path of their neighboring state Arizona and continue to simplify licensing for everyone else too. Meanwhile the Pentagon released a report including a ranking system to judge states by how friendly their licensing is to military families.
Tackling occupational licensing requirements is necessary to address the Covid-19 pandemic, writes Michael Abramowicz in Reason. With the very real possibility of triage, he points out it’s better for patients to have nurses with one year less of training than no nurses at all. Washington is already loosening up licensing requirements for healthcare professionals to work, and Massachusetts is accelerating training through licensing rule changes.
There are also significant changes across yet more states. It’s worth noting Pennsylvania is suspending various nurse licensing requirements and allowing greater provision of out-of-state telemedicine services for the response to Covid-19. Maine’s legislature has given the governor power to expedite licensing for out-of-state professionals and modify requirements as needed for the emergency. Florida’s legislature passed a bill expanding scope of practice for advance practice registered nurses and pharmacists. New Jersey has expedited professional and occupational licensing alongside a broader relief bill package. In Oklahoma, license expiration dates have been extended. It appears when a crisis arrives, policymakers across states have concluded many existing regulations for occupational licensing are causing more harm than good.
The American Medical Association has released recommended policies for states addressing Covid-19, including lowering the costs of testing, expanding treatment, broadening telemedicine, and allowing physicians to practice across state lines. What goes unmentioned however is one of the most critical measures that many states are taking, expanding scope of practice for non-physician medical professionals. Thankfully many policymakers are already aware of this when determining how to meet the demand of this health crisis.
Jon Hartley writes in National Review on the regulatory changes necessary to enable a successful private-sector response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He emphasizes changes to trucking regulations, licensing of professionals, and respirator mask manufacturing to help the country coordinate vital resources.
As hospitals in New York brace for the incoming wave of patients due to Covid-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to increase inpatient bed capacity by 50% alongside several measures. Among these measures are the expedited graduation of students in medical programs and expanding the scope of practice for medical personnel.