Florida might soon repeal its certificate of need (CON) laws, which restrict competition in the health care market. House Bill 21 would eliminate the Sunshine State’s entire CON review program and allow licensed providers to offer new or additional medical services without obtaining a certificate of need.
Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva (R-Hialeah) described CON reform as “an idea whose time has come.” Oliva is confident the overdue reform bill, which passed his chamber in late March, will be signed into law soon. Gov. Ron DeSantis has said CON reform is one of his top priorities this legislative session.
CON proponents claim these regulations are necessary to control health care costs. However, the law of supply and demand (and common sense) proves the opposite is true. By limiting the supply of medical facilities and services offered, CON laws increase health care costs and reduce quality.
Health care costs are 11 percent higher in CON states than in non-CON states, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Further, states with CONs governing 10 or more services averaged per-capita health care costs that are 8 percent higher than the $6,837 average for states requiring certificates of need for fewer than 10 services. In Florida, health care spending per capita could drop by $235 if CON laws were repealed, according to a Mercatus Center study. The same study also finds the Sunshine State has 104 fewer hospitals and that the quality of health care in the state is artificially depressed because of CON laws.
Currently, 35 states have CON laws. South Carolina, like Florida, is considering a bill that would eliminate the state’s CON laws. The Palmetto State regulates 22 medical services, devices, and procedures under its CON program, compared to the national state average of 14. If South Carolina lawmakers were to repeal these unnecessary laws, total health care spending could drop by $200 per person. Additionally, Palmetto State residents would have access to 34 additional health care facilities, 12 ambulatory surgery centers, and nine rural hospitals if the state were to end its CON requirements.
CON laws, which date back to the 1960s, are crony capitalism at its worst. States with outdated and obsolete CON laws should immediately repeal them and embrace free-market health care reforms.
What We’re Working On
Budget & Tax
Unnecessary Licensing Laws Are Holding Back Florida Entrepreneurs
In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines a Florida bill that would either loosen or eliminate occupational licensing requirements imposed by more than 23 professional licensing boards. “One of the top priorities for all states should be to promote tax and regulatory policies that create more jobs for their citizens. H.B. 27 would be a good first step toward opening up additional industries for expansion and empowering entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, the ultimate engine for economic growth,” wrote Glans.
Work Requirements in Kentucky (Guest: Anne-Tyler Morgan)
In this episode of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Anne-Tyler Morgan, a senior fellow with the Pegasus Institute, speaks with The Heartland Institute about Kentucky’s ongoing battle with a District Judge in Washington, DC who once again blocked Medicaid community engagement requirements (sometimes called a work requirement) on grounds that seem increasingly political.
Energy & Environment
Anthony Watts on Climate, Bad Temperature Stations, and Joining The Heartland Institute
In this episode of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Anthony Watts joins for the first time as a Senior Fellow for Environment and Climate at The Heartland Institute. Watts, the publisher of the most-read climate website in the world – WattsUpWithThat.com – talks about his scientific journey from radio and TV meteorologist in California to one of the most prominent skeptics of human-caused climate change. Watts’ fame came with his research into the enormous flaws in the way global temperature is determined at weather stations around the world.
Special-Needs, Low-Income South Carolina Children Deserve Education Savings Accounts
In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson writes about a South Carolina proposal to create Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Accounts, an education savings account (ESA) for low-income students and students with special needs. The program would also be available to special-needs and low-income children, children in foster care, and the children of active-duty military personnel, including members of the National Guard and Reserve. Funding for each account would equal South Carolina’s per-pupil funding for the school district in which the student is transferring from. The program would be begin in 2019–20, and be available to all eligible students in 2021–22.
From Our Free-Market Friend
How High Are Cigarette Taxes in Your State?
The Tax Foundation has a new ranking of cigarette taxes in each state. State cigarette taxes are levied on top of the federal rate of $1.01 per 20-pack of cigarettes. The average state levy is $1.73 per pack. Both federal and state taxes account for almost half the retail cost of a pack of cigarettes. Because of reduced consumption and intrastate smuggling, cigarette tax revenues are not a reliable funding source. States with the highest cigarette taxes are New York ($4.35/pack), Connecticut ($4.35/pack), and Rhode Island ($4.25/pack). The lowest are Georgia ($0.37/pack), North Dakota ($0.44/pack), and North Carolina ($0.45/pack).
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