In the series “Cut This, Go Home,” several items that should have been eliminated from the budget were highlighted to facilitate the budget’s passage and to enable legislators to go home sooner.
Now that the budget has passed, legislators still have a bit of unfinished business before returning home. Finalizing Medicaid reform, an economic incentive package and detail of a $2 billion bond are foremost among them.
But one other issue that should be addressed is North Carolina’s harmful Certificate of Need (CON) law. CON laws essentially force medical providers to ask permission from a state board of bureaucrats before expanding an existing facility, opening a new facility or adding certain types of equipment.
The Civitas Institute has previously published a five-part series examining the shortcomings of CON laws, including how they drive up healthcare costs, restrict competition and deprive North Carolinians of additional medical care services.
We had also featured this video interview with Dr. William Padgett of Beaufort County, in which he describes how CON laws are the main obstacle preventing a much-needed assisted living facility from opening up in his area.
Some other items legislators should keep in mind when considering the repeal of CON laws:
- Last week, a small town mayor walked 128 miles to Raleigh to remind the legislature that CON laws were preventing the re-opening of his rural hospital
- North Carolinians access to important medical services is more restricted than national averages
- Eliminating CON laws would make medical care less expensive, with savings up to 40% for many surgical procedures
- Restrictive CON laws put patients at a higher risk of infections
- The cumbersome paperwork required of the CON program places an undue burden on medical facilities. It services to enrich the lawyers required to navigate the laws, diverting scarce resources that could be better used caring for patients. For example, a CON application can measure more than four inches thick.