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North Carolina legislators consider easing certificate-of-need laws for ASCs — 4 insights

North Carolina legislators are attempting to increase competition in the state by reforming certificate-of-need laws around ASCs, the Richmond County Daily Journal reports.

What you should know:

1. The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services revisited what was known as House Bill 126. The bill would've allowed ASCs to expand from single to multispecialty centers without applying for a CON and would've allowed providers to spend a set amount of money without applying for a CON.

2. Opponents of the proposal — which will be renumbered if it advances past committee — cited frequently debunked arguments that CON laws protect rural healthcare establishments, among others. Data shows healthcare costs are 11 percent higher in states with CON laws, and these states have fewer rural hospitals per capita and frequently have racial disparities in care. Hospital lobbying groups are frequently CON advocates.

3. Connie Wilson, a North Carolina Orthopaedic Association lobbyist and CON opponent, acknowledged the prevalent lobbying from both sides on the issue, saying, "[Legislators'] eyes kind of bug out because they've been lobbied so hard on this issue that the world is going to end with any changes to CON."

4. The Mercatus Center said North Carolina has the fifth most restrictive CON laws in the nation.

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