Sunday, July 24, 2016

Telemedicine Runs Into Crony Doctoring

State medical-licensing barriers protect local MDs and deny patients access to remote-care physicians.

By Shirley Svorny, writing for the WSJ. Ms. Svorny is a professor of economics at California State University, Northridge, and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. Excerpts:
"Instead of welcoming the benefits of telemedicine, state governments and entrenched interests use licensing laws to make it difficult for out-of-state experts to offer remote care."

"Existing state medical-licensing laws are supported by entrenched interests primarily concerned with protecting providers, not with fostering the competitive health-care market that consumers so desperately need. If they want to operate in multiple states, telemedicine providers must hold multiple licenses, pay licensing fees to each state medical board, and comply with changing rules and regulations in every state. In effect, these stifling regulations force many patients to settle for whatever doctors are licensed to practice in their state—which is why in-state physician groups often support them."

"the misnamed Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, does not include provisions for license portability"

"the compact protects the power of the state boards to shield physicians in their states from competition. It preserves the multiple fees physicians must pay to each state board."

"Using its power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, Congress could pass legislation to define where a physician practices medicine to be the location of the physician, rather than the location of the patient, as states currently do. Physicians would need only one license"

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