In 1974, President Gerald Ford signed the National Health Program and Resource Development Act withholding federal funding from states that did not adopt Certificate of Need (CON) laws to regulate health care facilities. The CON Act requires providers wishing to open or expand a health care facility to first prove to the government that the community needs the planned services. For some reason, legislators believed that adding government bureaucracy and reducing competition could somehow reduce the cost of health care while improving the quality and access of health care. With government budgets at stake, it’s no surprise that by the early 1980s, nearly every state had some type of CON program. And it was a scam.
Twelve years later, in 1986, when it became clear that the CON Act was detrimental to the price, access, and quality of healthcare, Congress repealed the federal law and removed incentives to maintain state CON programs. Since then, 15 states have discontinued her CON system. Maine has to do so next by passing LD 1554.
Reducing competition always leads to higher prices and lower quality. This is the exact reason why there are laws against monopolies. But when it comes to something as important as healthcare, government regulation protects monopolies. This is pointless.
Among all states and the District of Columbia, Maine ranks 10th in per capita health care costs. Nine of these top 10 most expensive healthcare regions have adopted the CON Act. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that health care costs are 11% higher in states with CON laws.
However, better quality health care is worth spending more money on. But it’s not. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
Academics at George Mason University found that heart failure, pneumonia, and heart attack mortality rates were all significantly higher in CON hospitals than in non-CON states. by the CON method.
In terms of service availability, the CON Act reduced the availability of dialysis clinics and hospice care and reduced the number of MRI, CT, and PET scans by 34% to 65%. In addition, the number of emergency beds in hospitals will be reduced by 36%.
According to the latest census data, Maine leads the country with 61.3% of the population living in rural areas. Indeed, the majority of this miner deserves access to healthcare. However, one study showed that the CON program resulted in a 30% reduction in rural hospitals and a 13% reduction in rural ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) per 100,000 rural population.
This should come as no surprise to me. She saw firsthand how things work when she chaired the Certificate of Need committee in New Hampshire. We have also dedicated our lives to providing community health and access to affordable healthcare for residents of neighboring New Hampshire. There, three of her ASCs and she operates two imaging centers. southern part of the state. It also considered expanding to Maine, but held off because of the unequal playing field created by her CON laws in the state. It is unfortunate that the CON Act limits the growth of independent medical facilities. For example, studies have shown that ASC can provide surgery at a cost that is 35% to 50% lower than hospitals.
Given Maine’s CON program, if you want to open a new hospital, ASC, imaging center, or other provider, you must get approval from the Department of Health and Human Services. Naturally, the legacy facilities already in place are fighting it.
Competition pushes providers to work harder to offer better services at lower prices. Therefore, given the low quality, poor access, and high cost of health care, the CON program is a definite disadvantage for Maine. , should provide states with more affordable and accessible care options.
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