Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Unleashing the Lash of License Laws

This ribbon is to raise awareness of the recent damage our government has caused to health care freedom and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship. Under ObamaCare, physicians will be compelled to base their advice and treatment on politically determined goals, even when in conflict with the best interest of their individual patients.

Yesterday I renewed my medical licence. In California, I have a Class G Physicians and Surgeons licence. In order to maintain my licence to practice medicine, I had to attest to the following:

1. having obtained 50 hours of continuing medical education in the past two years, including 12 hours of pain management end-of-life care within the past 4 years, and if 25% or more of my patients are 65 or older, 20% of my CME must be in geriatrics.

2. the zip code in which I practice, the number of hours I work per week in various types of medicine-related activities, my years of training beyond medical school, board certification-if any, foreign languages I am fluent in, and my ethnic background. (In the last2 categories, I was at least given the option "decline to state.")

3. "the name and address of each health-related facility in which you or your immediate family have a financial interest."

After completing the form, I was given the option of contributing $25 for family practice training. The required license fee for the "privilege" of practicing medicine in California is $808.00--however $25 of that fee is a mandatory contribution to a loan repayment program:

Mandatory - Physician Loan Repayment Program Fee California Business and Professions Code section 2435.2 requires applicants to pay a mandatory fee of $25.00 at the time of issuance or renewal of a physician and surgeon's license to the Physician Loan Repayment Program. The Physician Loan Repayment Program encourages recently licensed physicians to practice in under served locations in California by authorizing a plan of repayment of their medical school loans in exchange for their service in a designated medically under served area for a minimum of three years.

In order to legally practice medicine in California, I am forced to fund other physicians who work in "under-served locations."

I paid my own tuition for medical school, which required taking out loans and which I personally paid back every cent. But this personal responsibility is not sufficient for the state of California. The mere fact of choosing to maintain my licence in this state requires me to help others repay their loans.

With the advent of RommneyCare (the Massachusetts universal health care equivalent of ObamaCare) and the subsequent physician shortage and soaring state deficits, proposals in Massachusetts include threats of price controls--and of linking medical licences to treating patients on the state public access plan.

How long before we see similar requirements imposed from a federal level?

For years, physicians have practiced under the government-protected cartel of licensing laws. When the fiscal disaster of ObamaCare manifests as nationwide physician shortages and soaring costs, it won't take long for the licencing laws which have protected physicians from market competition to turn into a leash for government control of incomes as well the practice of medicine.

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