A Victory For South Carolina Patients
Patients scored a major victory yesterday in South Carolina, where the House of Representatives voted unanimously for repeal of its certificate of need law. The vote is consistent with ALEC’s longstanding Resolution on Certificate of Need (CON) Laws Required for the Establishment of Certain Health Care Services. Assuming the Senate (which voted 30-6 in favor of CON repeal in February) supports the latest House legislation, this will be a major win for South Carolina patients.
CON laws require health care providers to obtain permission from a state board before opening a new health care facility, and in some cases before utilizing new technologies, purchasing new equipment, or offering new services. The provider must prove to the board that the community “needs” the new service, facility, etc. Existing providers almost always challenge the proposal, and applications are often denied.
These laws lead to provider shortages and higher prices due to the absence of competition. Twelve states have fully repealed their CON laws, and many others have restricted their CON requirement to nursing homes and/or long-term care facilities. South Carolina has been a battleground for CON repeal for the last few years, and while CON laws will still apply to nursing homes, it is still a major victory for patients and health care providers.