Bill Description: Senate Bill 1330 creates a new Title 54, Chapter 59, Idaho Code to create a new agency for licensing and registering naturopathic physicians.
Amended Analysis: The original rating for SB 1330 received a -3 on the Freedom Index. Since then, the bill has been amended and reevaluated for a score of -1. The updated analysis is featured below.
Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government?
Currently, Title 54, Chapter 51 of Idaho Code established the Naturopathic Medical Board to oversee the licensure and practice of naturopaths in the Gem State. This board works under the Idaho Board of Medicine to establish the scope of practice for naturopaths, develop licensing requirements and execute disciplinary procedures.
SB 1330 would establish a new Idaho Board of Naturopathic Healthcare, subordinate to the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses. This agency would be charged with setting requirements for licensure, establishing the scope of practice of naturopaths, and investigating alleged misconduct among naturopathic doctors.
A problem with SB 1330 is that it does not repeal any language governing the existing Naturopathic Medical Board. These would be two boards with similar governing powers operating under two different administrative agencies. Creating this board would create unnecessarily redundant government authority over the licensure of naturopaths.
Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market?
By creating the new Idaho Board of Naturopathic Healthcare, this bill imposes new regulations over the practice of naturopaths throughout the state, even though the legislation does not implement new regulations. Specifically, the new board would be granted the power to create “any such rules as are necessary for the administration of this chapter.” This language gives the board broad authority over naturopaths in several areas: their scope of practice, their right to write prescriptions, and their registration and licensing requirements.
One argument in support of this bill is that it does not regulate the profession because licensure would be optional. This is because those who do not have another medical license under Chapter 54 of Idaho Code may practice minor procedures of naturopathic medicine without exceeding the limits of their scope-of-practice and thus incurring a penalty. This bill, however, only applies to those who already have a license to practice medicine, nursing, chiropractics, or podiatry. Therefore, they must be licensed to practice naturopathic healthcare or otherwise face a penalty. Under these circumstances, licensure to become a naturopathic doctor is not optional under any portion of this bill.
Given the redundancy of a new Idaho Board of Naturopathic Healthcare, this bill would permit additional regulations that exceed those already imposed by the Naturopathic Medical Board. This unnecessarily restricts the free market and adds red tape for expanding the number of naturopaths in Idaho.
Does it increase barriers to entry into the market?
Under the current Naturopathic Medical Board, there are only five schools recognized to provide the training necessary for licensure. This is a heavy restriction on the profession and makes it difficult for professionals who would qualify under this bill to collect insurance funds and gain reputability in the market.
SB 1330 would expand the market for naturopathic healthcare by creating new pathways to licensure for these professionals. It would allow these professionals to have the authority to prescribe naturopathic remedies and reach patients with more diverse demographics and funding sources.
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