The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 103‒1 to repeal the state’s certificate of need (CON) law in 2018. CON laws are a complex set of regulations that adversely affect the health care choices of South Carolinians.
CON regulations prevent health care providers from entering new markets or increasing existing capacity without first gaining approval from state regulators. When a company applies to enter a new market, existing providers can use the CON process to block them, allowing a few large hospital chains to control the market and keep prices high.
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“This is a great victory for health care freedom in South Carolina. For too long consumers have been at the mercy of laws that favor a few wealthy and powerful hospital chains that restrict entry into the market by competitors, limit health care choices for consumers, and keep prices artificially high.”
“The South Carolina House of Representatives should be commended for its nearly unanimous support for rolling back these costly and protectionist regulations. When government chooses to restrict competition and impose needless barriers to entry for businesses, consumers are harmed and so is public health.
“It is great to see a state like South Carolina push solutions that promote competition and liberty, such as rolling back government-imposed regulations on the construction and licensing of new health care facilities. I expect more states to follow South Carolina’s lead on this issue.”
“The South Carolina House should be commended for its efforts to repeal the state’s certificate of need laws. While the stated goal of CON programs is to manage health care costs, research has shown they actually increase costs for consumers by hindering competition and forcing providers to use older facilities and equipment. Health care costs are 11 percent higher in CON states than in non-CON states.
“CON laws benefit existing providers and allow for inappropriate influences to affect vetting processes. When a company applies to enter a new market, existing providers often use the CON process to block potential competition. As a result, CON laws raise the price of medical care by preventing new medical providers from competing with existing hospitals.
“Hopefully the Senate follows soon and South Carolinians will receive the health care options they deserve.”
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