This Louisiana Law Affects Healthcare; Many Want it Abolished

A Louisiana healthcare law that, for example, prohibits people from opening their own counseling centers without government permission could go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

This, if think tanks in Arizona and California have their way.

These laws — known as Certificate of Need (CON) — restrict the availability of medical and psychological services.

Exactly 35 states have CON laws.

Specifically, CON laws require healthcare providers to seek permission from state regulators before they offer new services, expand facilities, or invest in technology.

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“Researchers find that these laws tend to restrict access to healthcare, make services more expensive, and undermine the quality of care,” said the Arlington, VA-based Mercatus Center.

Mercatus is a research center at George Mason University.

The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute this week filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court that urged justices to address the issue.

“The Supreme Court said as long ago as 1889 — in the very first Supreme Court decision to decide on the constitutionality of medical licensing laws—that the government can restrict people from entering a business only in order to protect consumers against being defrauded, or lied to, or harmed in some way. It reiterated that point in 1957, when it said states can only impose licensing restrictions if they ensure that practitioners are fit and able to practice the profession,” Goldwater said in a statement.


“But CON laws don’t consider such factors at all. They simply prohibit people from starting a business to protect existing businesses against competition. The Louisiana law, for example, makes it illegal to start a new clinic, not based on a person’s ability, but based on whether the existing clinics want to compete. (Guess what: they don’t.)”

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The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Goldwater went on to say, upheld the law, “on the theory that restricting the number of clinics enables the state to better regulate those clinics that do exist, because that way, the government doesn’t have to hire more inspectors.”

“That is, frankly, absurd,” Goldwater said.

“By that rationale, the state could prohibit all but one clinic in the entire state, because doing so would make it really easy to inspect and regulate it.”

Staff at the California-based Pacific Legal Foundation have asked the Supreme Court to take the case.

Pacific Legal is a nonprofit that defends American’s liberties against government overreach.



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