Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Showdown coming on Certificate of Need?

House Bill 458 represents an attempt by the legislature to overturn a Kentucky court ruling in favor of freedom and competition in health care.

The bill sailed through the House in a form that would have shut down the same medical practices who fought successfully in court for their continued existence and to ensure the prohibition of any future such providers of surgical services outside of (much more expensive) hospitals.

The Senate has now amended the bill to grandfather in those existing practices but to prohibit any new providers from lowering consumer prices and improving quality of service through competitive forces.

So now the question becomes: which chamber of the General Assembly believes in the ridiculous certificate of need process more, the House or the Senate?

In other words, if innovation in health care delivery is so dangerous we have to force doctors to do outpatient surgeries in hospitals rather than provide a less expensive alternative then why are exempting anyone from certificate of need? And if those exemptions don't actually put consumers at risk, then why don't we drop this overly burdensome regulation for all Kentuckians?