Officials at Carolinas HealthCare System, the state's largest hospital system, said this about bills to repeal or weaken North Carolina's certificate-of-need laws:
Hospitals and healthcare systems, including Carolinas HealthCare System, have made great strides in transforming the delivery of healthcare to improve the health of patients and reduce costs. Repealing or weakening the Certificate of Need statute jeopardizes the progress we are making and adds to the already challenging healthcare environment.
Current proposals to change the CON law will not encourage free-market competition. The healthcare marketplace is unique and does not operate as a traditional free market; in North Carolina government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, provide coverage for the majority of patients. Yet the reimbursement provided through those programs does not fully cover the cost of their care. In addition, healthcare systems are expected to address critical healthcare needs such as population health management and behavioral health that are not profitable and are frequently not reimbursed to even cover the cost of care. The current CON law in North Carolina serves a vital role ensuring citizens of the state have access to essential services for which there is virtually no competition. Changing the current law would benefit very few, but such action could create access challenges for many. Until there are changes in the marketplace, any change to the CON law must acknowledge the realities of the marketplace.