Any good BASEDPolitics subscriber knows the ins and outs of the evils of Certificate of Need laws. But if you’re new to our community, you can read up on them here and here.
As we covered last week, Georgia is about to mount an epic full repeal campaign in the state and now it looks like South Carolina will be right on their heels.
Last year, South Carolina came within an inch and a prayer of full repeal. They had the votes in both chambers and the governor himself had urged action. But the bill was suspiciously killed by a procedural move in the eleventh hour by a formerly supportive lawmaker. Shortly thereafter, the outgoing Speaker of the House was named as the top lobbyist for the state’s largest hospital association.
Sus as it gets, we know.
Fortunately, the champions behind the CON law fight aren’t giving up and a new bill (with the same language) is scheduled for its first committee in the state senate on Thursday. Senator Wes Climer is the sponsor in that chamber and proponents are hopeful it will be sent to the full Senate floor from there.
As more and more people are finding out about the corruption of CON laws that have been laying rot to our healthcare systems for decades, states are lining up to get rid of them. Virtually no individual supports the notion of these protectionist old laws, intentionally put in place to drive up the costs of healthcare, but that doesn’t mean the repeal battles are easy.
Per usual, the special interests in the hospital associations and other dinosaur healthcare companies spend a lot of money defending these practices and many lawmakers cave to the pressure—both due to financial reasons and the fear of powerful people in the state aligning against them.
That means the spotlight on these challenges needs to burn bright. CON laws fly in the face of basic supply and demand. It’s economics 101 that when you restrict supply and demand stays the same (or goes up as it were in our country) that prices inflate. In a truly capitalist society Americans would be seeing their healthcare costs come down alongside their wait times. Instead, we increasingly face shortages for care and skyrocketing prices.
And in South Carolina, we know these laws lead to worse lifetime expectancies. As we reported last year (according to The State newspaper) “The Palmetto State has for years had one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the nation. Black women, regardless of income or educational level, are especially at risk, dying at rates roughly three times that of white women.”
WBTW also reported that South Carolina’s NICU rates have also doubled since 2004. They said, “In 2004, 58.5 babies per 1,000 born statewide – or 5.9% – ended up in a NICU. By 2020, that had reached 94.5 babies per 1,000 born, or 9.4%, totaling 5,264 babies.”
Similar outcomes have been found in Georgia where the state’s current CON laws specifically limit the state’s birthing centers and beds for infants.
It’s inexcusable and time for action.
Hannah Cox is a consultant at Americans for Prosperity, which works to repeal CON laws.
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