With short session underway, there will be a push for lawmakers to repeal North Carolina’s Certificate of Need law – a law in which doctors and hospitals must ask the state permission to build new facilities, expand existing service lines, or update major medical equipment. Even if the state gives approval, competitors can block the process. In the meantime, patients are left with fewer health care options.

If you’re on board for legislators to eliminate an outdated law that limits health care options and raises health care costs, be sure to check out the John Locke Foundation’s website at restorehealthcarefreedom.com.

Why CON Repeal Is Necessary:  

  • CON laws use central planning to try to reduce health care costs by keeping health care facilities from buying too much equipment, building too much capacity, and adding too many beds. However, four decades’ worth of data and research into CON laws have produced a recurring theme in the research literature: CON laws fail to lower health care costs; if anything, they raise them.
  • North Carolina hosts one of the most stringent CON laws in the nation, regulating over 25 services ranging from MRI machines to kidney dialysis units to ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).
  • The process that a potential hospital, nursing home, clinic, doctor’s office, or other supplier must go through to receive a CON is tedious and costly. Depending on the number of reviews, the process can take anywhere from 90 days to over two years.  If a denial is appealed to the state Court of Appeals, the process can last longer than two years.
  • Despite CON’s failure to lower health care costs and improve access to quality care in rural areas, special interests favor CON laws as a means to block competitors from delivering health care in less expensive settings.
  • States with CON programs have 30 percent fewer hospitals–and 30 percent fewer rural hospitals–than other states.
  • States that apply CON laws to outpatient surgery centers (like North Carolina) have 13 percent fewer rural ambulatory service centers than other states.

Benefits Of Repeal: 

  • Lower costs
  • Better quality
  • Improved access to rural health care