[HED]: Legislation to Weaken Georgia’s CON Law Dies in Committee
[DEK]: Certificate of need (CON) regulation reform would have meant lower costs and more choices.
Two measures that would have helped small businesses by loosening Georgia’s certificate-of-need (CON) laws have died in committee.
House Bill 299, sponsored by state Rep. Wendell Willard, and Senate Bill 123, introduced by Sen Hunter Hill would have led to lower medical costs by allowing more competition. NFIB was monitoring both bills.
HB 299 would have eliminated the requirement that health-care providers obtain a CON from the state before buying new medical equipment. It also would have exempted freestanding emergency departments from CON requirements. SB 123 dealt specifically with restrictions on the Cancer Treatment Centers of America with regard to building a local facility in Newnan. Currently, destination cancer hospitals must limit in-state patients to 35 percent of total population served as well as keep to a cap of 50 beds in the facility. SB 123 would have undone those restrictions.
Georgia’s CON program was established in 1979. It regulates the creation and expansion of medical facilities. Essentially, CON requires health-care providers to obtain state approval that a facility is ‘needed’ before moving forward on plans to build or expand. The goal, reported The Newnan Times-Herald, was to prevent the overbuilding of facilities and duplication of services to control costs, as well as help subsidize healthcare for the poor. However, a 2015 report from the Mercatus Institute found that neither of these things is happening.
“Forty years of evidence demonstrate that these programs do not achieve their intended outcomes, but rather decrease the supply and availability of healthcare services by limiting entry and competition,” the report concluded. “For policymakers in Georgia, this situation presents an opportunity to reverse course and open the market for greater entry, more competition, and ultimately more options for those seeking care.”