Medical Monopoly Issues
Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman wrote "I am myself persuaded that licensure has reduced both the quantity and quality of medical practice…. It has forced the public to pay more for less satisfactory medical service."
Have you ever wondered how the medical monopoly formed in the United States? Find out by reading a historical analysis titled "The Medical Monopoly: Protecting Consumers or Limiting Competition?" Ever since their introduction in the 1870s, licensing laws have limited the supply of health-care providers, thereby limiting competition and increasing costs.
If today's policymakers are serious about cutting health spending and improving access to affordable health care, one of the first steps should be to eliminate anti-competitive barriers, namely licensure laws and federal reimbursement regulations, that restrict access to low-cost providers such as chiropractors, midwives, and nurse practitioners. The time is right for eliminating barriers to non-physician health-care providers. In fact, many Americans are seeking low-cost nontraditional providers and even choose to pay out-of-pocket for their services. Moreover nearly three out of every four adults over age 50 use some kind of alternative medicine, such as acupuncture or herbal medicine.
Breaking the anti-competitive barriers of licensure laws and federal reimbursement regulations would provide meaningful health reform, increase consumer choice, and reduce health-care costs.
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(Summary updated November 2009)