“The court correctly rejected the government’s argument that Dr. Singh needed to apply for a CON before bringing this case,” said IJ Attorney Renée Flaherty, who argued the motion. “No one should have to go through an unconstitutional process in order to challenge it. We look forward to showing that North Carolina’s CON law unconstitutionally favors existing businesses at the expense of Dr. Singh and other medical providers.”
In July 2018, IJ and Dr. Singh, a Winston-Salem surgeon, and his business, Forsyth Imaging Center, sued the Department of Health and Human Services, alleging that North Carolina’s CON law is unconstitutional because it bans medical providers from offering services patients need solely to protect existing providers from competition. In order to receive a CON, providers must persuade state officials that new services are “needed” through a cumbersome process that resembles full-blown litigation and allows existing businesses, like established hospitals, to oppose their applications. Even after a CON is granted, existing providers can appeal the decision. Dr. Singh should not have to go through such a burdensome process just to provide affordable services that patients need.
The Healthcare industry, or medical-industrial complex, wears the armor of Government-sponsored protectionism; chinked together by pieces of the tax code, The McCarren-Ferguson Act, Certificate of Need laws, Medicare billing regulations, HIPAA, HITECH, and the ACA.
You would be hard pressed to find a more entrenched, impenetrable cartel.
The negative effect of Certificate of Need laws on competition and the monopoly-like privileges they bestow have attracted the attention of the Justice Department and the FTC. These agencies strongly condemned certificate-of-need laws as recently as 2008, arguing that they ruin the market process while delivering the opposite of the benefits they were intended to promote.
Above all else, the preponderance of evidence is that certificate-of-need laws do not fulfill any of their intended purposes. According to studies from the Mercatus center at George Mason University, they decrease the availability of medical resources, do not make care more accessible for underserved communities, and increase the costs of care by 13.6 percent per-capita in the states where they exist. If there is any substantial benefit associated with these regulations, such a benefit has yet to present itself. The negatives, on the other hand, are unmistakable.
The Indiana Policy Review recently compared the bill for a hernia operation at an Indianapolis hospital with the price for the same procedure advertised online by a small entrepreneurial surgery center in Oklahoma. The Indiana hospital received $21,112.81 from the patient and his insurance company. The surgery could have been performed for 85 percent less in Oklahoma. What’s more, the patient would have been guaranteed the price before surgery.
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