On November 28, the Senate Certificate of Need Reform Study Committee held its fourth and final meeting, reaching the conclusion that Georgia certificate of need (CON) laws are not only irrelevant, but harmful.
For those unfamiliar with these laws, they have been a measure used to drive out competition by requiring that entities looking to open new health care facilities or employ certain technologies apply for permission, including from those with whom the new services would be competing. The inevitable result was that many new opportunities were denied, leaving consumers with more expensive healthcare costs or, in some cases, without care at all.
Senate and House study committees were formed to investigate the repercussions of repealing these laws and meetings were held in various locations throughout the state, with testimony being given by those both for and against repeal and/or reform. LP Georgia policy director, Brian Allen, gave comment at two hearings to present the libertarian position of a free-market approach.
In a 6 – 2 vote, the committee adopted recommendations to repeal CON laws in their entirety. In the absence of a full repeal, a secondary recommendation encourages the enactment of a number of reforms to significantly weaken CON including exemptions for birth and surgery centers. If the Georgia Assembly abides by the committee recommendations, Georgians can expect for competition to increase, prices to decrease, and availability of care in currently underserved locations to rise.
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