This article reminds us that there is no free market in health care in the U.S. This case refers to Certificate of Need (CON) laws still applicable to NC and many other states. In short, hospitals and other medical care providersneed to ask permission from government bureaucrats in order to expand or create new facilities or add certain types of medical equipment.
The CON formula ties new hospital beds, operating rooms, outpatient treatment facilities and other resources to population estimates.
Last year, for example, regulators said Wake County needed another 41 hospital beds because of its growth. Novant Health applied for the beds to build a $100 million hospital in Holly Springs, but the state Division of Health Service Regulation awarded the beds to WakeMed for a women’s hospital in north Raleigh.
“We’re upset,” Sears said. “If you’re an animal – a dog or a cat – there are eight animal hospitals in the area. There’s not a hospital for people. Something’s wrong with that.”
Government already rations the provision of Medical care by restricting the number of facilities they approve, based on a government-created spreadsheet.
How do our government rulers justify such an absurd process? Cost cutting, of course. According to a spokesman for the NC Hospital Association:
“It’s important because it helps save money and helps make sure people all over the state have access to medical care, rather than just in large metro areas.” (emphasis added)
(Only a government propagandist could say that restricting the number of hospital beds and medical equipment actually improves access to medical care)
Any of this sounding familiar? When government speaks of “saving money” in the medical care industry, it can only lead to one thing: restricting the amount of resources devoted to providing care people are willing to pay for; i.e. rationing.
Those that want to blame “market failure” for the problems in the medical care and health insurance industries are perpetuating a myth. Their intention is to fool enough of the people in order to keep any market-based reforms out of the discussion.