Certificate of Need (CON) laws stifle competition and drive up costs for health care.  JLF has long advocated for eliminating monopoly protections for hospitals and other heath care facilities, as explained in our Agenda 2012.  As this editorial in today’s N&O points out:

The CON was intended to keep hospitals from building unnecessary facilities and buying expensive equipment they couldn’t fully employ. But hospitals now use the certificate requirements to fend off upstart competitors and protect their local monopolies on certain services.

The need for hospitals to protect that advantage is essentially the N.C. Hospital Association’s argument against HB 177….

The proposed change would allow more patients to undergo surgery in settings that are often more pleasant and convenient than a large hospital. This is the direction medicine must go in the 21st century. Technology has made many surgeries safer, easier and less invasive. There’s no reason policies should stand in the way of their also becoming less expensive.

Kudos to NCGA Representatives Marilyn Avila, Jeff Collins, Justin Burr, Susan Martin, Mike Stone and Harry Warren for their leadership in recognizing the need to amend North Carolina’s expensive Certificate of Need laws and sponsoring House Bill 177.  And to NCGA Representatives John Torbett, Rick Glazier, Jamie Boles, Marvin Lucas, Susan Martin and Rodney Moore for sponsoring House Bill 83, which would adopt recommendations from a study committee on CON laws. HB 83 will be heard in the House Health and Human Services Committee this morning at 10:00 am in Room 544.

It’s time NC’s Certificate of Need laws get a good hard look and efforts to encourage competition will bring down the escalating costs of health care.