South Carolina governor’s push to repeal health facility construction rules gets boost from Feds

Legislature may move to strike certificate of need requirements.

January 27, 2016 |
South Carolina governor’s push to repeal health facility construction rules gets boost from Feds

Trident Regional Medical Center in North Charleston, S.C. Photo: Mydogtryed/Creative Commons.

South Carolina is one of dozens of states that require health facilities to get state permission for many kinds of construction and expansion projects. 

Nikki Haley, the state’s governor, has been working to repeal these rules, and the federal government recently weighed in with its support. In a letter and attached statement to Haley, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission wrote that laws requiring a certificate of need impede competition and make such projects more expensive.

"By interfering with the market forces that normally determine the supply of facilities and services, CON laws can suppress supply, misallocate resources, and shield incumbent health care providers from competition from new entrants," federal officials wrote.

State lawmakers are considering a provision that would end the certificate of need requirement in 2018. A 1974 federal law required states to enact the certificate of need process in an effort to control health care costs, but Congress repealed it 13 years later after studies showed it had little effect on cost control.

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