Hat tip to the Blog A Stitch in Haste for pointing out this interesting distinction.Physicians, in Mr. Pete Stark's view cannot or should not be trusted to own ,for example,a hospital because of the fear their avarice will overwhelm their fiduciary duty to their patients. ( I have written before about what I believe to be an erosion of that duty by the New Professionalism). Pete Stark has a penchant to introduce legislation to limit what a physician can do in terms of referring patients to various health care facilities. To get flavor of the "Stark Law" go to this analysis of the complexities involved in this statute.More on recent congressional efforts to restrict who can own hospitals can be found here.
By startling contrast-any one but a lawyer is legally not allowed to own a law firm.No one but a lawyer can own a law firm-others cannot be trusted.Of course, owning a law firm is one thing, owning a hospital or imaging center is something else but the disconnect between the general level of public trust for the two professions and the perceived need to control one group to a much greater extent than the other is something to think about.