I agree with Valerie Stallbaumer in her letter to the editor in The Des Moines Register, (See link below), that the purpose of professional licensing requirements by government is to help protect the public from harm. I disagree with her that it also is to guarantee quality. Safety issues are usually objective: we know pretty well what kind of things can hurt people. Licensing should assure us that the licensed person knows and follows safe procedures. But for many licensed professions, quality is subjective. If acupuncture is not effective for some people, what is the harm as long as they don’t get an infection? The only reason I can think of why government would require a four-year program for acupuncturists is that acupuncturists and their schools lobbied for licensing to protect themselves against competition and to appear more professional. Acupuncturists, physical therapists, tattoo artists, and ear piecers probably can learn proper safety procedures related to “needling” in just a few days. We do need a complete review of licensing requirements and regulations in Iowa to eliminate those that prevent competition rather than protect people.