by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, the Winston-Salem Journal published a piece on Dr. Gajendra Singh, a surgeon providing low-cost screenings and health care services. According to the story:
[Singh is] suing the state over arcane rules that basically allow it to control the marketplace through a monopoly rather than patients/consumers and old-fashioned competition.
The law Dr. Singh is suing over is the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) law. The story explains:
The state has had a certificate of need law for more than 40 years. It requires medical professionals who want to provide such things as MRIs to demonstrate annually the need in a particular area. The theory being that doing so might more fairly spread out availability and prevent overlap.
In practice, Singh says, the state winds up restricting who can purchase medical equipment and protecting hospitals by setting up monopolies that essentially eliminate competition.
Dr. Singh is being represented by a nonprofit public-interest law firm, the Institute for Justice. The article quotes his lawsuit:
“The effect of the MRI-CON requirement is to prevent (Singh) from acquiring a fixed MRI scanner to provide safe, quality, affordable MRI scans to patients who need them, solely because incumbent providers got there first,” his lawsuit reads in part. “Therefore, the MRI-CON requirement, both on its face and as applied, grants certain health-care providers a monopoly in violation … of the North Carolina constitution.”
Currently, Singh rents an MRI machine. Since he has not been granted a certificate of need for such a machine, he can only rent the machine for a few days a week – limiting the cost-effective MRI scans he can provide.
Read the full article here. Learn more about CON laws and Dr. Singh’s practice this month at the “Certificate of Need Laws: Impact in NC” panel hosted by America’s Future Foundation. The event and will be August 22nd from 6-8pm at HQ Capital Club. JLF’s Jordan Roberts will also participate on the panel.