Patrick Ishmael

For nearly a decade now, my colleagues and I have pushed hard to establish unilateral license reciprocity in health care here in Missouri.

In 2012, we wrote about letting health care professionals provide Missourians free care—and facilitating it by accepting their out-of-state licenses. We were strong backers of the Volunteer Health Services Act in 2013, were national advocates for its wide adoption in 2014, and were apoplectic in 2015 that New York would stop licensed out-of-state doctors from providing their citizens much needed care. (New York has a different opinion on the issue now.) In 2016, our concluding lines in Demand Supply: Why Licensing Reform Matters to Improving American Health Care, were:

[S]tates do not have to wait for [an interstate compact] to emerge and should be willing to accept, unilaterally, the licenses of qualified medical professionals from other states. Indeed, just as several states have passed Volunteer Health Care Services Acts for the needy, states can pass similar legislation that would allow licensed physicians in good standing to provide care to their own residents—no additional licensing required.

And we continued our advocacy. Last year we cheered Arizona for being the first to achieve this watershed reform, and this year we have been on the leading edge promoting supply-side health care that, among other things, would ensure Missourians have maximal access to health care professionals to meet their needs during the coronavirus crisis.

Six weeks ago, Gov. Mike Parson to his credit issued a waiver that established wide reciprocity for health care professionals. And this week, driven by Rep. Derek Grier’s leadership, the legislature passed a permanent reciprocity law for health care professionals—and many, many more licensed professions.

Suffice it to say, I am ecstatic. Congratulations to all who have worked toward this moment, but especially, congratulations to the people of Missouri. At long last, the state is an unambiguous leader on license reform issues, and the benefits of that commitment will ripple through Missouri for years to come.

About the Author

Patrick Ishmael
Director of Government Accountability

Patrick Ishmael is the director of government accountability at the Show-Me Institute.