Thursday, December 31, 2015

Matt Bevin, tear down that CON

The web site for Kentucky's Certificate of Need program still proclaims staggering economic illiteracy to the world and Governor Bevin should take quick action to fix it.

The site currently reads as follows: "The Kentucky certificate of need process prevents the proliferation of health care facilities, health services and major medical equipment that increase the cost of quality health care in the commonwealth."

If proliferation of goods or services increased costs, every Economics textbook would be wrong. Providers of goods and services expanding offerings always benefits consumers because competition drives up quality and drives down cost. Politicians often pretend not to understand this when limiting such offerings can increase their own power. Such is the case with "certificate of need."

Governor Bevin should move quickly to end Kentucky's Certificate of Need program. He can start by reorganizing it with an executive order amending KRS 216B.115. That statute requires all appeals of Certificate of Need rulings to be taken to Frankfort and heard in the Franklin Circuit Court. Those judges have no better information about the healthcare needs in other parts of the state than Circuit Court judges in the counties harmed by a Certificate of Need power grab.

Bevin could make this change himself and then any resistance to quick ratification in the General Assembly could be presented to voters as politicians fighting to limit local healthcare offerings.

"Getting government out of healthcare in Kentucky starts with dismantling the certificate of need program and letting medical professionals and consumers decide what services are available," Kentucky Progress publisher David Adams said. "There is no reason for Gov. Bevin not to take quick action to right this wrong."