The following piece is a guest post authored by Tony West, the Georgia State Director for Americans for Prosperity.
It’s been my pleasure to get to know Katie Chubb and learn more about her struggle to obtain a Certificate Of Need (CON) for her proposed birth center in Augusta. She is a passionate advocate for women and their rights and health during childbirth.
In this video, Katie remarks that the major reason she didn’t receive a CON was because her local hospitals didn’t want the competition. They didn’t want her taking “their” customers. And she’s right. A common argument in support of CON is to protect hospitals from other providers “cherry picking” patients of higher profit services.
The problem with that theory is that in practice it doesn’t occur. Scholarly studies by CON expert Matthew Mitchell and other researchers have found that states without CON have more hospitals and other types of medical facilities, including in rural areas. Moreover, CON-less states see less spending per capita. In layman’s terms, patients are spending less on healthcare and have more options in states without CON. This is exactly the result we’d expect by getting the government out of the way, and allowing medical professionals to provide for patients’ needs directly.
Another common argument against CON repeal is that you can’t apply regular free-market, supply-and-demand policies to healthcare. And yet, the unleashing of telehealth and Direct Primary Care are two reforms Georgia recently implemented that cut red tape and allow for easier access to care at lower costs. Repealing CON would have the same effects, not to mention the direct impact patients would feel as artificially restricted services start to come online.
In the past few years, four of Georgia’s neighbors have significantly reformed or repealed their outdated CON laws, inviting innovation into their respective health care markets. Tennessee, North Carolina, and Florida passed bills exempting numerous services from CON. Maternal and infant care shortages were major reasons South Carolina repealed CON requirements for all facilities and services except for nursing homes last year.
By removing big government regulations and allowing providers like Katie and others to serve patients, Georgia will take another step towards the personalized health care which so many Americans desire.