Want Lower Costs and More Access? Time for NC to Break Up the Big Government/Big Healthcare Partnership

RALEIGH – Healthcare issues are not going away. Indeed, healthcare and the costs of insurance keep rising astronomically. It’s no coincidence that the amount government intrusion in the healthcare markets is so elevated, and the North Carolina state government is more guilty than most when it comes to over-regulating healthcare, pushing prices up, and access down.

For a crash course on just why North Carolina ties its own hands in reducing healthcare costs and increasing access, one need look no further than Jordan Roberts’ piece at the Carolina Journal on the arcane Certificate of Need laws and why they are so damaging.

From Carolina Journal:

“Texas did it in 1985. California did it in 1987. Pennsylvania did it in 1996. New Hampshire did it in 2016. Florida did it in 2019.

I’m talking about states that repealed their Certificate of Need laws. CON laws were implemented by almost every state as a condition to receiving federal funding when Congress passed the Health Planning Resource Development Act of 1974. […]”

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Spoiler alert: CON laws never worked for their intended purposes. Actually, they did the opposite, which is why the federal government even repealed the Act and so many states have followed suit – except for North Carolina. The politicians and special interests in the Old North State seem to have an affinity for arbitrary bureaucratic control, state enforced monopolies, higher healthcare costs, and artificially suppressed access.

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“[…] Of the states that still have CON laws in place, North Carolina is the fifth most restrictive state in terms of the number of facilities that need government approval to build. Only New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont have a higher number of facilities regulated under CON laws. Sixteen states have fully repealed these laws because of the demonstrated costs to patients and state-sanctioned benefits to incumbent facilities. By creating a system in which market incumbents can dictate competitors, monopolistic behavior follows. […]

This year, North Carolina lawmakers have an opportunity to repeal CON laws and put the interests of patients back in the hands of the private market. Let’s hope that 2019 is the year that North Carolina finally repeals its CON laws.”

For more on CON laws and why they demonstrably aggravate problems in the healthcare market, as well as an excellent analogy of what similar regulation would mean for any other industry, read the rest of the piece here. And be sure to call your state legislators to let them know you expect them to make it easier to access healthcare at affordable prices, not harder.

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