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Americans for Prosperity – Tennessee Applauds Passage of Certificate of Need Reforms

Apr 23, 2024 by AFP

NASHVILLE, TN – Following the passage of SB 2009/ HB 2269 to reform Tennessee’s outdated Certificate of Need laws, Americans for Prosperity – Tennessee (AFP-TN) is applauding the passage.

AFP-TN State Director Tori Venable released the following statement:

“Bill sponsors Sen. Shane Reeves and Rep. Clark Boyd, plus each chambers’ Speakers, came through for Tennesseans today. This bill substantially reforms and brings us one step closer to fully repealing Tennessee’s outdated Certificate of Need laws.

“Tennesseans should not need a government permission slip to access health care services. Ending Certificate of Need laws is vital for our entire state, especially in rural counties. These reforms increase access to emergency life-saving care and encourage more competition- ultimately leading to lower health care costs for Tennesseans.

“AFP-TN will continue to work tirelessly to repeal CON laws in the Volunteer State. While the votes yesterday were an important step, the fight is not over. We look forward to Governor Lee signing this transformative bill into law.”

Background

Tennessee’s CON law, enacted fifty years ago, mandates approval from the state before health care providers can add or expand facilities, services, or equipment. Despite substantial evidence suggesting CON laws are ineffective at controlling costs or ensuring access to health care, Tennessee’s program persists. While the Tennessee General Assembly reformed the CON law in 2021, Americans for Prosperity Foundation contends that these changes are arbitrary and insufficient. The labyrinth of red tape and inefficiencies persist, limiting health care access and hindering competition.

SB 2009/ HB 2269 will eliminate CON regulations for new health care facilities to open in counties that do not have existing hospitals and decrease the distance between existing hospitals and new medical facilities. This passed in the Senate today with a vote of 26 to 2 and in the House with a vote of 76 to 12 (4 PNV).

American for Prosperity Foundation’s Analysis:

  • Tennessee’s CON program denied nearly $1.5 billion in proposed health care investment since April 2000.
  • CON disputes can take years to resolve and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, diverting resources from patient care and leaving patients without critical care provisions.
  • The result of so much lost health care investment is that Tennesseans pay higher prices for less access and lower quality health care.

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