North Carolina's Senate is considering legislation that would eliminate the state's certificate-of-need laws, according to Greensboro News & Record.
Here are seven things to know:
1. Fairfax, Va.-based George Mason University researchers found North Carolina has the third most restrictive CON system in the nation. Currently, 37 states have such regulations.
2. A group of legislators included Senate Bill 257 in the budget proposal, which would repeal the state's CON laws effective Jan. 1, 2018.
3. CON opponents say the laws prevent competition in local regions. By repealing the CON system, competition would allow acute-care hospitals, diagnostic centers and rehabilitation centers to offer new services.
4. CON opponents also argue competition would cause providers to lower fees for high-risk procedures.
5. The N.C. Hospital Association has opposed repealing the laws, saying doing so would result in 2,300 less jobs within rural hospitals. In a statement, NCHA stated, "The budget proposed by the Senate will add financial instability to hospitals and health systems across our state already challenged by uncertainty in today's healthcare environment."
6. Lawmakers fall across the board regarding the CON repeal proposal. Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, former president of Winston-Salem-based N.C. Baptist Hospital, said the bill's likelihood of being in the final budget is nil and said "it is the usual negotiating ploy the Senate seems to enjoy."
7. Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth, said the CON repeal bill is indicative of laws that officials have discussed for years and there is a "need for some transformation."