Feds push states to abolishcertificate of need regs

December 1, 2008
Diagnostic Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging Vol 30 No 12, Volume 30, Issue 12

The U.S. Department of Justice and theFederal Trade Commission are pressuring stategovernments to repeal certificate of need lawsmeant to control healthcare costs by regulatingthe purchase of capital equipment, suchas MRI technology and CT scanners.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are pressuring state governments to repeal certificate of need laws meant to control healthcare costs by regulating the purchase of capital equipment, such as MRI technology and CT scanners.

The two agencies argue that CON laws are anticompetitive, favor incumbents, and undercut consumer choice. The DOJ and FTC underscored their position in discussions with Georgia and in statements to Alaska, Florida, and, more recently, Illinois.

At the invitation of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, FTC officials testified in February at a state legislative committee in favor of HB 337, a bill that would have eliminated CON jurisdiction in several cities and towns. The bill's opponents say deregulation will favor privately owned specialty hospitals at the expense of the state's acute care hospitals. Efforts to pass the bill have so far been stymied.