We Donâ€™t Need Healthcare Reform
By: Keith Allison
Thatâ€™s right folks, we donâ€™t need healthcare reform. What we need, is to enforce existing state statutory laws we already have on the books.
Back in the 1980â€™s, the federal government imposed its will upon the individual states and demanded they either introduce new pilot projects or statutory laws requiring each state to increase competition in healthcare or lose federal funding.
States like California chose to go the pilot project routine while others like Washington chose to implement statutes requiring greater competition within the various healthcare practices. For instance, in California, the legislature enacted a pilot project that should have allowed denturists to practice unfettered by government interference. Orange Coast College attempted to implement a Denturist Training Program at that time, but ran into so much political interference from the American and California Dental Associations, the program never got off the ground. When I spoke to Clorice Shickling about the failure of the government to initiate the program, she stated â€œwe just donâ€™t have the money it would take to implement the Denturist Pilot Project. When I asked her if the state hadnâ€™t made some sort of financial arrangements prior to offering the program to various schools, she just looked at her feet and said nothing. Then, when I asked her if dentistry had put pressure on the stateâ€™s politicians to defund the program, she looked me squarely in the eyes, turned her head and walked away. According to documents I have in my possession, among other things, the California Dental Association threatened â€œdecertifyâ€ the states various dental assistant programs if the state continued with their efforts to enact a denturist training program in the state. That, of course, would mean the graduates of any dental program in the stateâ€™s colleges would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find employment after graduating from a particular dental auxiliary program.
In the state of Washington, the politicians enacted the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 18.120 which was designed to open all health occupations and other businesses up to increased competition. RCW 18.120 conforms to constitutional law as outlined in the case of Andrews vs. Ballard which deals with the publicâ€™s right to exercise their right to freedom of choice in medical matters. In that case, the Court held: â€œIt is not sufficient for the state to show that [the articles and rules in question] further a very substantial state interest. In pursuing that important interest, the state cannot choose means that unnecessarily burden or restrict constitutionally protected activity. Statutes affecting constitutional rights must be drawn with â€˜precision, â€¦ and must be â€˜tailoredâ€™ to serve their legitimate objectives. And, if there are other reasonable ways to achieve those goals with a lesser burden on constitutionally protected activity, a state may not choose the way of greater interference. If it acts at all, it must choose â€˜less drastic means.â€™â€
In a clear attempt to clarify the legislative intent of RCW 18.120, the legislature implemented RCW 18.122 â€“ Regulation of Health Professions, Uniform Administrative Provisions. In this act, the legislature stated: â€œThe legislature takes note of the burgeoning number of bills proposed to regulate new health and health-related professions and occupations. The legislature further recognizes the number of allied health professions seeking independent practice. Potentially, at least one hundred forty-five discrete health professions and occupations are recognized nationally, with at least two hundred fifty secondary job classification. A uniform and streamlined credentialing process needs to be established to permit the Department of Health to administer the health professional regulatory programs in the most cost-effective, accountable, and uniform manner. The public interest will be served by establishing uniform administrative provisions for the regulated professions under the department of health regulated after July 26, 1987.
There is nothing complicated about this legislation or its purpose as foreseen and enacted by the legislature. Simply stated, the legislature had been struggling with locating a method by which they could help control the ever increasing cost of health care (at the direction of the federal government) and a method by which to provide easier access for the public to obtain that care. Since the Washington State Health Coordinating Council, along with the Federal Trade Commission, the Kentucky State Legislature and the Michigan State Department of Health found there to be no record of denturists ever having harmed the public, and where RCW 18.120 clearly states the legislature felt that â€œall individuals should be permitted to enter into a health profession unless three is an overwhelming need for the state to protect the interests of the publicâ€¦,â€ denturists began registering (the least restrictive form of regulation) with the state Department of Licensing as mandated under RCW 18.120). They paid the appropriate state fees, filled out the state forms, and noted on the state forms that they would be â€œmaking, fitting, altering and/or repairing full and/or partial dentures directly to the public, and thereby registered with a Washington State Agency as required under RCW 18.120. Business Licenses and Registrations were issued by the state, and denturists opened their offices to the public. And then, dentistry stepped in and demanded the State of Washington shut down all registered denturists in the state.
Thereâ€™s more to this which Iâ€™ve included in a book Iâ€™m working on about dentistry interfering with the citizens common law right to earn a living at their chosen occupation when that occupation represents little, if any, potential for harm to anyone, but Iâ€™ve exposed enough information for the public to act on.
So, as I stated at the outset, we donâ€™t need to have any more â€œhealthcare reform.â€ The fact is, all we need is for our federal and/or state legislators to act on the laws we already have on the books about â€œreforming healthcare.â€