Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ALEC Seeks to Eliminate Certification and Licensure Requirements for Physicians

In the early minutes of Now You See Me, a masterful musician played by Jesse Eisenberg dares an audience member to come closer, look closely because magicians count on audiences missing the big picture while looking at the illusion right before them. By stepping back, we citizens can see the big ALEC picture so step back, Readers, for the final installment in ALEC’s 2014 prioritized pieces of model legislation. Step back and observe what ALEC hopes you’ll miss: everything in its quiver is deadly to you and your best interests.

Self-Portrait. Al Griffin Photography
Today’s topic, the Patient Access Expansion Act, available on page 4 of the linked site, sounds great, doesn’t it? The title of the model act sounds as if it has your best interest in mind: to expand a patient’s access. But to what?

Therein lies the trick. Patients will actually gain access to health care that may not have passed close scrutiny or standards. The big picture is that this act will remove physician requirements to complete training and professional development in order to call themselves a specialist or claim certification. In fact, the bill goes so far as to prohibit states from sending any physician licensure monies to the Federation of State Medical Boards, leaving patients to wonder if the plaque on the wall actually signifies that the physician treating them has completed all necessary requirements to qualify and remain current in her or his field.

The website Crooks and Liars puts it even more bluntly: “That 'Patient Access Expansion Act?' That seems great, doesn't it? More access is better! It opens the door to all sorts of quackery by forcing states to BAR board certifications. If it passed, anyone could be a specialist even if they never studied for one minute in that field!”

Much of the ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force agenda functions similarly. The proposals seek to limit regulation and therefore, restrict consumer protections. I recommend looking at the Big Picture now in place if ALEC succeeds in enacting each piece of its 2014 model legislative agenda. Beginning with the first post of this year, each item on the 2014 agenda, according to PR Watch, has been examined and positioned in the puzzle of ALEC. That picture reveals that ALEC does not serve the common good, the public welfare, or Americans in general. ALEC serves itself.