The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill to join an interstate compact to synchronize its medical licensing regulations with those of 22 other states, allowing health care providers licensed in participating states to provide services in Michigan.
Legislators approved House Bill 4066 (HB 4066) on October 10. The bill now awaits action by the Michigan Senate Committee on Health Policy.
Increasing Health Care Access
HB 4066’s sponsor, state Rep. Jim Tedder (R-Clarkston), says the bill would help increase consumers’ access to quality health care.
“In an age when we see advances in telemedicine, we also hear recurring themes of lack of access to quality care in rural and underserved areas,” Tedder said. “The interstate medical licensure compact allows a means through which specialty practice physicians can maintain multistate licensure in an expedited process.”
The bill would synchronize Michigan’s health care licensing rules with other states’, Tedder says.
“In effect, through a compact, we’re really coordinating our statutory and regulatory rules in line with others,” Tedder said. “This brings a lot of states in line with what I consider to be very highly scrutinized rules here in Michigan.”
Staving Off Federal Overregulation
Interstate compacts can preempt federal regulatory overreach, Tedder says.
“In many cases, when you see an interstate compact established, it preempts any potential for federal licensure of physicians,” Tedder said. “With increasing health care costs and increasing encroachment from the federal government, this is a prudent preemption of any forthcoming licensing regulations at the federal level.”
Pros and Cons of Compact
Jarrett Skorup, strategic outreach manager with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, says the proposed compact has advantages and disadvantages.
“There’s two sides to this, from a free-market standpoint,” Skorup said. “The one side is licensing restrictions are too high in all professions, so we want to work toward lessening that. To the extent that this allows people to move among states with one license, it’s a good thing. The problem with it is, you don’t want Michigan to lock itself into restrictive licensing agreements or into a compact that will vote to raise requirements.”
Skorup says reciprocity agreements, in which states agree to recognize other states’ occupational licenses, are a good idea.
“You pretty much have the same requirements in every state to be a medical doctor, so for those states with similar requirements, it makes sense for states to enter a reciprocity agreement,” Skorup said.