Occupational licensing is a tried and true way for professionals to restrict competition while claiming to protect consumers. Colorado HB11-1173 is the latest example. It’s sure to put some naturopathic doctors of a job, limit entry of new doctors into the marketplace, and increase prices patients pay.
Licensing is different from certification from a non-governmental body. Some auto mechanics are ASE certified, some are not. You may want to pay extra to bring your car to a place that employs only ASE certified technicians. Or not. It’s your choice.
But government licensing takes this choice away by prohibiting voluntary exchange of services. This inevitably reduces the supply and increases the prices consumers must pay for them. Sure, the well-off may not notice, but poorer people get shafted – all in the name of “protecting them” from making bad uninformed choices. This is a typical elitist rationale for restricting freedom, which includes the freedom to make mistakes.
As Herbert Spencer has noted, “The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools.”
For a critique of medical licensing laws, see “Medical Licensing: An Obstacle to Affordable, Quality Care, ” by economist Shirley Svorny.
See this post by economist Paul Prentice for more details, the date of the hearing for this bill (currently March 1) and a list of Representatives, who I suppose are associated with it:
Colorado State Capitol Hearing for Health Care Freedom NOTE CHANGE OF DATE TO MARCH 1.
Recommended readings on Herbert Spencer:
- Smith, George H., “Will the Real Herbert Spencer Please Stand Up?,” on-line: Libertarian Review, December 1978. Also in Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies, (Prometheus Books, Buffalo, New York), 1991.
- Damon Root, The Unfortunate Case of Herbert Spencer, How a libertarian individualist was recast as a social Darwinist, Reason.com.
(via Ari Armstrong on Colorado Free-Marketers)