John Hood writes for Carolina Journal’s Daily Journal:

I think health care costs too much — that is, the full cost exceeds the real benefit in health outcomes — because of poorly aligned incentives, insufficient information, and insufficient competition. Consumers should be spending (tax-free) cash for routine expenses, rather than filing low-dollar insurance claims, and feel empowered to buy that routine care in the form of monthly fees and other alternative arrangements rather than just in payments per service rendered.

For hospitalizations, surgeries, ongoing therapy for chronic diseases, and other high-dollar expenses that represent a disproportionate share of total health spending — the costliest five percent of patients in America account for about half of total annual expenditures — we need a more transparent and coherent system of upfront prices coupled with more robust competition.

The North Carolina General Assembly could make significant headway on the competition front this year. For example, the bipartisan SAVE Act (House Bill 185 and Senate Bill 143) would expand the scope of services that advanced-practice nurses can perform in our statewithout direct supervision by physicians, which can be unnecessary and adds tremendously to the cost of delivering care.

Lawmakers could also pare back the regulatory thicket of North Carolina’s certificate-of-need law, which forces providers to get permission from the state to open new facilities or offer new services in competition with existing hospitals or physician practices.

Finally, lawmakers should not attempt to obstruct State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s push for more transparent and affordable pricing of the services that teachers and other public employees purchase from North Carolina hospitals through the state health plan.

Read more here.