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AFP-SC Leads Coalition Letter Urging Repeal of Certificate of Need Laws

May 10, 2021 by AFP

COLUMBIA, SC – Americans for Prosperity-South Carolina (AFP-SC) and a broad coalition of more than a dozen organizations sent a letter to the South Carolina legislative leadership and state senators urging their support of S. 290, a bill that would repeal the state’s certificate of need (CON) laws.

Last week, AFP-SC announced a major ad and grassroots campaign focusing on expanding access to health care services by empowering South Carolinians to contact their lawmakers in support of S. 290. Right now, state law requires health facilities to get government approval before expanding existing or new services – or even purchase new medical equipment.

Click here to view the coalition letter.

In the letter, the coalition writes:

“This legislation would repeal burdensome and counterproductive “certificate of need” laws that place unneeded restrictions on the number of available hospital beds and other critical medical supplies. S. 290 would better position our state’s health care system to meet the needs of South Carolinians by allowing medical professionals to buy more equipment, invest in new facilities, and expand existing facilities.

“The debate today is between those who want to exert even more government control over our health sector and those, like us, who favor giving patients more choice and control and allowing the creativity we have seen in this crisis to flourish.”

Background:

In 1971, lawmakers established the CON program to evaluate building plans and medical equipment purchases to determine which services are needed to address community medical needs and which services are unnecessary. However, the agency overseeing the program, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, routinely blocks new health care providers from offering essential health services across the state, especially in rural and underserved communities.

A Mercatus Center study found that, without a CON law, Palmetto State residents would have access to 34 additional hospitals — including nine rural installations — 12 additional ambulatory surgery centers, over 300 more PET scanners, and over 20,000 more MRI machines.

The CON law also means 6,331 fewer hospital beds.

In some cases, CON law restrictions are a matter of life and death. Mercatus also estimated that, without CON, South Carolina would suffer 5.1 percent fewer deaths as a result of post-surgery complications.