News and Commentary
Robert Orr of Niskanen Center writes in The Hill about the country’s primary care shortage, suggesting that expanding scope of practice could increase accessibility and lower costs. He recommends state legislators grant nurse practitioners full authority to prescribe and practice independently.
A Tennessee state senator killed an occupational licensing bill that she initially sponsored after clarifying it wasn’t meant to pass in its original form but rather be amended. Hopefully a new bill can be introduced soon to remove unnecessary licensing for the residents of Tennessee.
The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Board of Directors has approved an updated document detailing the scope of practice for nurse anesthesia. The president of AANA has stated the state legislators should remove unnecessary restrictions to enable properly trained nurses to provide such services.
Adam Thierer and Trace Mitchell argue that the new report from the Council of Economic Advisors is correct to call for reducing excessive occupational licensing restrictions. They note these restrictions create barriers to employment and that enhancing license portability through reciprocity agreements or interstate compacts would go a long way.
Eli Lehrer, President of the R Street Institute, writes that greater progress in undoing burdensome occupational licensing might occur by expanding scope of practice under existing licenses. He points to the licenses home health aides currently must attain and suggests broader tasks could be made legal without costly additional training.
Molly Davis at Daily News writes on a new licensing scheme being proposed in California for adult performers, arguing the bill is arbitrary and doesn’t have any clear justification. Christian Britschgi at Reason makes similar points, arguing the bill would impose training and fingerprinting on any adult performers but has gotten pushback from a prominent guild in the industry.
Mackinac Center recently released a study describing the factors legislators and policymakers should consider when changing occupational licensing laws. It provides a model giving examples of reforming licensing required for painters, roofers, school librarians, and barbers.
Congress recently doubled the reimbursement for civilian spouses who pay to relicense when moving with their army spouse during a permanent change-of-station relocation. Of course, it would be even better to reduce unnecessary exam and administrative fees for licenses in the first place.
Vermont’s Senate is considering various healthcare reforms, unanimously passing a bill to modernize licensure of physician assistants while shifting liability. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee is also holding a vote on joining an interstate Nurse Licensure Compact which would attract nurses from outside of Vermont.
Iowa’s House pushed a bill through committee that would allow workers with licenses from other states to practice trades in Iowa without additional training, exams, or fees. It would waive fees for workers from households below 200% of the federal poverty line and make it easier for workers with criminal convictions to be granted licenses.
A new bill has been introduced into California’s State Assembly that would allow occupational licenses from other states to be recognized. Fees and state-specific exams however would still be allowed under the current proposed legislation however.
A new NBER paper analyzes data from the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs. It finds that raising the Medicaid primary care fee closer to Medicare’s level increased odds of a usual source of care and improved access to specialty doctor care among these children when they are publicly insured.