Reforming CON Laws Increases Access to Health Care, New Medical Equipment

Mar 17, 2020 by AFP

Grassroots group calls on legislature to reform CON laws

COLUMBIA, SC – Americans for Prosperity-South Carolina (AFP-SC) today urged the South Carolina legislature to pass SB 1077 and SB 1093 before the legislature adjourns. These bills would overhaul the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) laws.

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.

The grassroots group is also running digital ads throughout the state that connects people with their lawmakers, enabling them to urge their legislators to support SB 1077 and SB 1093.

Americans for Prosperity-South Carolina (AFP-SC) State Director Andrew Yates issued the following statement:

“In emergency cases like the one we find ourselves in today, it is imperative we put health over protectionism. Reforming our certificate of need laws will help increase access to health care and new medical equipment that South Carolinians need now and in the future after the virus subsides. We need to change the status quo of our state’s health care system and eliminate the arcane regulations and red tape that inhibits our health care system’s ability to meet the health demands of South Carolinians. Lawmakers should support these bills that will strengthen health care access, lower costs, and benefit all South Carolinians.”


Just recently, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services lifted a CON law that requires hospitals to get state permission for more hospital beds.

Research from George Mason University shows CON laws have dramatically reduced the availability of health care in South Carolina. The authors of the study found that these policies have decreased the number of hospitals by 30 percent and decreased the number of ambulatory surgery centers by 14 percent.

South Carolina’s CON laws also reduce access to important medical equipment, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners. Analysis conducted by the nonpartisan Mercatus Center estimates that these barriers reduce the supply of MRIs by 34 percent and PET scanners by 65 percent.

These bills will bring desperately needed health care relief to communities. SB 1093 would free providers to build new and expand existing health facilities that cost less than $5 million without going through the lengthy CON approval process. In addition, the bill would free providers to make new medical equipment purchases of up to $2 million without CON approval.