The Certificate of Need Laws: An Obstacle to Healthcare Access

Certificate of Need Laws (CON laws) were initially designed to control healthcare costs and improve access to care in the United States. However, over time, they have been instrumental in limiting competition and restricting healthcare access. The intention of this blog post is to bring attention to the issues surrounding CON laws and the importance of repealing them to ensure affordable, quality healthcare access for all. We will look at how CON laws contribute to high maternal mortality rates and limit innovation in healthcare. Additionally, we will delve into the story of Katie Chubb, a woman who has been advocating for the repeal of CON laws. 

CON laws require healthcare providers to obtain government approval prior to expanding, adding new services, or acquiring equipment. While these laws were initially thought to improve healthcare access and quality, research indicates that they accomplish the opposite. By limiting the free market competition in healthcare, CON laws lead to monopolies and decreased healthcare access, as providers are not incentivized to expand because they cannot compete with existing facilities. Additionally, the cost of equipment and new facilities increases, leading to increased healthcare costs for patients. 

One area where CON laws have a significant impact is maternal mortality rates. The United States has the highest maternal death rates compared to comparable countries, and studies have shown that this is related to a lack of access to care. Since CON laws prevent new providers from entering the market, rural areas are left with minimal choices of hospitals or care providers, making access to maternal care difficult for women in these areas. 

Katie Chubb’s inspiring story to become a nurse and obstetrician began when she saw the lack of access to care in her rural community. However, she soon realized that existing hospitals in her state had a stronghold on medical service expansion. Through years of activism, Katie and her supporters managed to battle the entrenched healthcare providers by drawing attention to the negative ramifications of CON laws on healthcare innovation and access. For example, Katie worked to empower patient voices in the fight for healthcare access and to build a strong coalition of supporters to effectively combat opposition from existing hospitals. 

The impact of CON laws on healthcare access is not limited to one rural community or one particular medical service. These laws restrict innovation and limit access to care for millions of Americans. Repealing CON laws will benefit patients across the country by promoting free market competition and encouraging the emergence of new facilities to meet unmet needs. Healthcare providers and patients alike must advocate for the removal of this clamp on innovation and access to care. Katie’s story demonstrates the power of the people to change policy and ensure access to quality care for all. We encourage everyone to get more involved in this issue by supporting organizations advocating for the repeal of CON laws and by reaching out to their elected representatives to raise awareness about this issue. 

Listen to the full episode here:

Related Articles

American Potential