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Arguments Against Increasing Hours

Little Hover Commission 2004

Regulation of Acupuncture: A Complementary Therapy Framework

As explained previously, the purpose of education is to ensure minimum competence. Raising educational standards - beyond what is required for public safety - can discourage or delay new entrants into the marketplace, resulting in higher fees and lower access for consumers. When regulations unnecessarily limit competition, the options available to consumers are diminished.

An expert from the National Institutes of Health testified that there is no evidence indicating a need to raise education hours. He also stated that by doing so, consumer access could be unnecessarily restricted, particularly to promising addiction therapy.78

According to the Pew Health Professions Commission, the "ostensible goal of professional regulation - to establish standards that protect consumers from incompetent practitioners - is eclipsed by the tacit goal of protecting the professions' economic prerogatives. This dichotomy of goals has created serious shortcomings that include limited public accountability, [and] support for practice monopolies that limit access to care."79

Specific to the acupuncture debate, some acupuncture schools have resisted the higher standards, asserting that the additional burden would unnecessarily discourage students. UCSF research also indicates that some acupuncture schools are operating on thin margins - and may not be able to stay in business if enrollments decline, even if students pay higher fees to cover the additional courses.



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