Certificate-of-need laws should be banned in North Carolina, state treasurer says

North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell has called for the repeal of local certificate-of-need laws, saying that such unnecessary regulations cost the state's health plan $250 million a year, according to a March 8 The Carolina Journal report.

"Do you know what we could do with family premiums for $250 million a year, even if a portion of that savings from completely repealing the certificate of needs law go toward that?" Mr. Folwell asked in the report.

Certificate-of-need laws, which require applicants wishing to build a new hospital or offer a new medical service to demonstrate a need for it in the community, are increasingly controversial. While mostly conservatives and legislative Republicans have long advocated for a complete repeal of such laws, hospitals and health systems maintain removing them would allow physician owners to set up surgery centers close to hospitals and siphon off patients as a result.

North Carolina, which recently agreed on a Medicaid expansion plan, is looking at ways of reforming its own certificate-of-need rules as part of the Medicaid deal.

Hospitals and health systems found themselves defending accusations from Mr. Folwell of paying their top executives oversized salaries following a report his office released Feb. 15.

Mr. Folwell also called on the state's attorney general to investigate possible antitrust issues with the proposed purchase of two hospitals by Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health from Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, according to The Carolina Journal report.

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