by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
On Monday, May 11, JLF’s Jordan Roberts was a guest on “Check It Out” with John Check. Jordan discussed the coronavirus outbreak, the impact it has had on the economy, and the measures North Carolina is taking to mitigate the negative impacts of the outbreak.
Roberts and Check kicked off the show with a conversation about deregulation policy. Roberts said:
“It’s really refreshing to see people saying [deregulation is] helping increase access to health care, give our health care providers more flexibility and giving patients more freedom to choose where they go get their health care…
The polices I am talking about are things like certificate-of-need laws, medical licensure [that restricts out-of-state physicians] from treating patients in North Carolina. It is changing things like this that we believe are going to open up the health-care market.”
Roberts and Check go into detail about certificate-of-need laws in North Carolina. Certificate-of-need laws require the government determine a “need” for more hospital beds or specific medical devices within a given part of the state. Health care providers must then apply to receive a permission slip from the government to provide those services or expand their practice. Certificates of need most often go to large incumbent providers of health care like large hospital networks. In addition to this system favoring certain medical providers over others, this policy restricts the supply of health care services which, in turn, creates an artificial scarcity in the market and increases prices.
“I describe them as protectionist policies because they protect the incumbents who have them at the expense of everybody else…We are paying artificially high prices because the state artificially restricts the supply of health care… so that is one of the policies that we are hoping North Carolina will significantly reform or repeal altogether.”