Certified: The Need to Repeal CON: Counter to Their Intent, Certificate of Need Laws Raise Health Care Costs
by Jon Sanders
John Locke Foundation
October 30, 2013
Certificate of Need (CON) laws use central planning to try to reduce health care costs by keeping health care facilities from buying too much equipment, building too much capacity, and adding too many beds. Four decades’ worth of data and research into CON laws have produced a recurring theme in the research literature: CON laws fail to lower health care costs; if anything, they raise them. North Carolina hosts one of the most restrictive CON programs in the country, regulating 25 different services. While patients and rural communities are negatively impacted by CON restrictions (especially the poor, elderly, and those with emergencies), existing hospitals and medical service providers reap the benefits of CON laws insulating them from competition. State leaders could honor the intent behind CON—preventing unnecessary increases in health care costs—by repealing CON.