“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Professional Protection!”

The issue of licensing of “professionals” has com has come up in the current Hawaii legislative session. The estimable blogger and activist Larry Geller is advocating for the defeat of proposed legislation that would do away with professional licensing for several professions. By extension, the respective state licensing boards would cease to exist — with the aim of consequently eliminating the budgeting for these publicly-funded boards (i.e. reduce state spending).

I have no doubt that Larry has good intentions in sounding a cautionary note as to why these licensing processes should continue. I can also empathize with Larry’s particular regard for marriage and family therapists losing professional certification — and with it the ability to bill “third party” (insurance companies and such) for their services — while counselors bearing the title “psychologist” retain the ability to be compensated by third parties.

Still, equating professional licensing — certification — of such professionals, with “consumer protection” takes on a certain mendacious odor that I think merits further scrutiny.
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