Anti-health “certificate of need” laws need to be eliminated
Pandemics are massively disruptive events that can results in profound, long-term changes.
And some of them are for the better, as could be the case in South Carolina:
The state Senate voted 35–6…to repeal most of South Carolina’s Certificate of Need (CON) regulations that require hospitals and other health care providers to obtain permission from the state before expanding facilities, buying new equipment, or offering new services. Often, those regulations gave de facto veto power to existing providers, which lobby health policy bureaucrats to block the approval of new competition.
Limiting competition is something big, entrenched players always seek to do. But in the case of health care, such blinkered thinking and actions actively harm the community. Eliminating certificate of need laws is a big step toward improving public health, and lowering health care costs:
…CON laws were originally intended to curb rising health care costs by limiting capital investment by hospitals and other health care providers. In 1974, Congress mandated that all states must pass CON laws for health care providers in order to continue receiving Medicaid funding. By the mid-1980s, amid mounting evidence that CON laws were not achieving that goal and were instead creating anti-competitive arrangements that drove costs even higher, Congress repealed the mandate. Unfortunately, the damage had been done.
Now, pretty much everyone (except the hospitals and other providers who are shielded from competition) agrees CON laws are bad policy. But removing the inertia in state capitals is no easy task…
Not easy, true. But essential – for better health and for patients’ wallets.