Home - Breaking News, Events, Things-To-Do, Dining, Nightlife


Here’s how lawmakers could improve healthcare in our state

Did you know that Mississippi spends a higher share of our overall wealth on healthcare than almost any other state in America?  Yet despite this, we still have some of the worst health outcomes in the country.

Source:  AFP Mississippi report on Certificate of Need, James Bailey

Some believe that the answer is to spend an even larger amount by expanding Medicaid.  Mississippi’s House of Representatives has just voted to do precisely that.

The debate over Medicaid expansion now appears to hinge on whether under the expansion scheme there will be any realistic work requirement.  Critics fear that without a robust requirement for recipients of free health care to be in work, Medicaid expansion is little more than a something-for-nothing system of soft socialism.

It remains to be seen if the Senate will support the House’s bill – and if it will do so by a large enough margin to overturn any future gubernatorial veto. 

There is, however, another proposal that has attracted far less attention that really would improve healthcare in our state.

Healthcare in Mississippi is deliberately restricted by a set of laws known as Certificate of Need, or CON, laws.  These laws require anyone wanting to expand existing services or offer new services to apply for a Certificate of Need permit.  By not issuing permits to new operators, competitors are kept out of the market – which suits the existing providers. 

Our recent report on Certificate of Need reform shows how harmful this red tape can be.  If we removed this protectionist red tape, we would get far more bang for our buck, however much the legislature decided to spend on Medicaid.

Florida, Tennessee and both North & South Carolina have all recently removed their CON laws – and they each have significantly better healthcare as a consequence.

Now there is a chance that Mississippi might do something similar.  Rep Zuber’s excellent bill (HB 419) opens the possibility that some CON rules could be repealed. 

Of course, now that the bill is before the House, every sort of parasitic vested interest is frantically lobbying to kill the bill.

Why?  CON confers on existing providers a means to legally exclude the competition. 

Imagine in the search engine Yahoo! had been able to use CON laws to shut down Google?  Or if Friends Reunited could have used CON laws to prevent Facebook?  Or if the folk that made DVDs could have used CON to prevent Netflix from taking off?  CON laws have been doing precisely this to healthcare in our state. 

CON laws in Mississippi are one of the last vestiges of the good ole boy system that has held Mississippi back.

Read original article by clicking here.

Local Dining Stream

Things To Do

Related articles