A bill to licence foreign doctors in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has been defeated in the House of Representatives.
Nine members voted against the house bill introduced by Representative Sylvestre Iguel and seven were in favour of it.
According to the Marianas Variety newspaper, the bill would have permitted qualified medical practitioners from overseas to be licensed in the CNMI.
Mr Iguel is quoted as saying the bill aimed to address the shortage of healthcare providers in the Northern Marianas.
But the newspaper reports the CNMI Health Care Professional Licensing Board saying it cannot endorse the bill without major modifications.