Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Barrier to free health care

If you were anywhere near Southern California this past week (I don't know if it made national news or not) you could hardly have missed the news that a free health clinic, staffed by volunteers, was held in the Forum in Inglewood for a week, handling medical and dental problems of about 1500 uninsured and mostly poor people a day. It was sad that there was such a need to fill, but inspiring that somebody could put it together.

The organizer was Remote Area Medical, initially formed to bring volunteer medical workers to Third World countries but doing so also in the U.S., mostly in rural areas, for the last several years. But there's a problem. Doctors licensed in one state generally (Tennessee with an open-borders-for-doctors law is the only exception) are not allowed to practice in another state unless they jump through hurdles, sometimes taking another exam (it varies), which can take months, even to practice pro bono for a charitable cause. I think it's goofy. Naturally the Register thought so too.

Another argument for eliminating those restrictions with a policy of simply recognizing licenses from other states. Licensing laws are designed not to protect consumers but to restrict competition and improve the incomes of licensed practitioners. Dump 'em all.