How Can Certificate-of-Need Laws Be Reformed to Improve Access to Healthcare?

from the book Regulation and Economic Opportunity: Blueprints for Reform

Executive Summary

Certificate of Need (CON) laws require that the expansion of medical facilities be approved through public processes. The hope was that such limits on building medical facilities would improve access to healthcare and keep costs low by preventing unnecessary developments. Overall, research on CON laws shows that they have largely failed to achieve these ends. In this chapter, Alexander Ollerton and Christopher Koopman review the effects of CON laws and provide potential solutions to improve access to healthcare services. They conclude that:

  • CON laws are associated with reductions in the quality, accessibility, and affordability of healthcare.
  • A promising solution is removing CON laws in favor of experimentation by entrepreneurs.
  • Many CON laws should be streamlined and allow for faster approval of medical facility expansions. They should also limit the cases when expansions can be denied.
CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.