State Considers Licensing Naturopathic Physicians
But more regulatory hurdles are unlikely to improve safety
Michigan lawmakers are looking to license naturopathic physicians — medical practitioners who aim to solve ailments holistically through self-healing or natural methods. While it is necessary for some medical providers to be licensed, there is no proven need for that in naturopathic physicians. It is also important to remember there are other factors outside of licensing requirements that would regulate naturopaths. Edward Timmons, director of the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at Saint Francis University, and Jarrett Skorup, director of marketing and communications at the Mackinac Center, recently wrote about this in The Detroit News:
If it could be demonstrated that regulations are needed to protect the public from naturopathic medicine, lawmakers could establish rules for the profession without creating a licensing requirement. Requiring all naturopaths to register with the state would be one possibility. A voluntary, state-approved certification program could also be used. If naturopaths found the certification process valuable for their practice, they could opt to complete it.
As with other cases of occupational licensing, these requirements simply create an unnecessary entry barrier that makes it harder to join the market, therefore driving costs up for consumers. Lawmakers should remember that licensing is not the only option. Often times, the best forms of regulation, such as word of mouth or personal experience, happen outside of government standards.
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Learn more about occupational licensing issues in Michigan here.