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New York Times Letter on Occupational Licensing

In this November 5th, 1997, letter in the New York Times I criticized government prohibitions on consumers choosing to patronize nurse practitioners who operate independently of medical doctors.  My letter is below the fold.

To the Editor:

The New York State Medical Society’s opposition to independent nurse practitioners is shameful (Week in Review, Nov. 2). This opposition violates Hippocrates’ admonition to ”first, do no harm.” Because most independent nurse practitioners provide lower-cost basic medical services than do doctors, legal prohibitions on the spread of these practitioners raise the price of medical care. Higher prices cause some people who would otherwise seek treatment for ailments to refrain from doing so.

Apparently the New York State Medical Society reinterprets Hippocrates’ admonition to mean, ”first, do no harm to physicians’ incomes.”

President, Foundation for Economic Education
Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y., Nov. 3, 1997