South Carolina bill would no longer require state permission for hospital projects

South Carolina senators voted 35-6 on Jan. 25 to repeal the certificate of need regulatory process, which would mean healthcare providers no longer need the state's permission for capital projects or to buy expensive medical equipment, The Post and Courier reported.

The bill still needs House approval.

The 51-year-old law was originally created to control costs and prevent duplicate projects in the same area, according to the report. Sen. Wes Climer said the law instead worsened healthcare access and increased healthcare costs by forcing hospitals to fight in court, The Post and Courier said.

If the bill passes, 28 projects — which will cost in total about $1 billion — would immediately be able to proceed.

While some senators said the bill would expand access in rural areas, Sen. Kevin Johnson said it would hurt rural communities by promoting more competition, which could put hospitals that serve them out of business.

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