On Nov. 7, the Federal Trade Commission held its second Economic Liberty Task Force roundtable to examine empirical evidence on the effects of occupational licensure. As background, most states have statutory laws, regulation, and administrative rules which establish the scope of practice and conditions for entry into an occupation. This is an issue of importance to CPR since many of our member organizations are governed by state professional licensure boards, and changes to licensing requirements for health care professionals have a direct impact on the health care market as well as patients.
The FTC is focused on this topic because “for some occupations, licensing restrictions may be an appropriate policy response to protect public safety or satisfy other consumer protection concerns. For other occupations, however, it is questionable whether policy rationales for licensing – and for many of the particular license-related restrictions adopted in some states – are adequate to justify the costs to workers and consumers.” Though this roundtable was focused on occupational licensure across a broad set of industries, CPR has been closely following these discussions because of a recent trend of states seeking to right-size and streamline regulatory oversight of professional licensure by consolidating professional licensing boards. In health care specifically, occupational licensure and board consolidations can impact patient care and oversight of the health care professional field. Because of this CPR believes that it is important to solicit input from key stakeholders in the health care community, including professional licensees, their respective professional associations, and patients/consumers, during the drafting and creation of proposed legislative or regulatory changes related to licensing board consolidation.
Panelists at the FTC roundtable included:
- Morris M. Kleiner, Professor of Public Affairs, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
- Thomas Koch, Economist, Bureau of Economics, Federal Trade Commission Beth Redbird, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University
- Edward Timmons, Associate Professor of Economics and Director, Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation, Saint Francis University
- Jules van Binsbergen, Nippon Life Associate Professor of Finance, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
- Abigail Wozniak, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame
A number of CPR members were attendance at the meeting. A replay of the roundtable can be watched here.