by JLF Staff
If you haven’t heard, Carolina Beach recently overturned its law prohibiting out-of-town food trucks from serving the community after the Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of food truck owners. Good! After all, isn’t competition a good thing? Competition leads to innovation, better quality of services and products, and lower costs.
This principal has far-reaching implications. For example, let’s consider the health care industry. Innovative approaches that have lowered costs for patients and increased quality of service, while still improving efficiency for providers, have created more options aside from traditional health care services. Examples include telemedicine and Direct Primary Care(DPC), which allow providers and patients to make choices that best suit their specific needs. I foresee numerous innovative practices and transformations in the health care industry in the future, but one topic that warrants serious consideration for review – and soon – is certificate of need (CON). JLF’s policy position on Certificate of Need explains that, “CON laws restrict access to care, put government control ahead of patients and doctors, handcuff health providers from offering care in their communities, increase health care costs by preventing competition, undermine the doctor-patient relationship, and add anxiety about quality of care when we are most vulnerable.” JLF has proposed repealing CON laws for years. I’ll save the detailed arguments among proponents and opponents for another day. Until then, here’s some food for thought: I’ve heard the argument that, because health care is such a highly regulated industry, the idea that a competitive market would be beneficial (as it is in other markets) is unfounded. But, there are plenty of examples, such as this one from Foundation for Economic Education, that “illustrate the power of competition, even in highly regulated markets, to benefit consumers.”