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Florida hospital leaders push back on CON repeal, say competition doesn't lower prices — 6 insights

Two Florida hospital leaders penned a column for the News-Press petitioning voters to urge their state senators to deny a proposal related to certificate of need reform.

What you should know:

1. Fort Myers, Fla.-based Lee Health President and CEO Larry Antonucci, MD, and Naples, Fla.-based NCH Healthcare System Interim President and CEO Phillip Dutcher argued against the measure, which industry experts have said increases competition while decreasing cost.

2. The hospital leaders said CONs ensured access to services while preventing duplication of services.

3. The leaders argued that competition will not drive down cost and that there is no "free market" for hospital services. Some healthcare experts disagree with that theory. The conservative-leaning Heartland Institute, for example, cites data from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that healthcare costs are 11 percent higher in CON states than in states without CONs, among other findings.

4. The leaders said repealing the CON law would create an influx of development in "affluent areas" and a decrease in services to lower-income communities.

5. They also argue their hospital's nonprofit status requires them to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay. They said, "All we are asking for is fair competition and a level playing field for everyone."

6. The Florida Senate should vote on CON reform in the coming weeks.

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