Monday, February 5, 2024

MCPP: State Leaders Should Take Action to Improve Healthcare

Mississippi saw some spectacular inauguration events over the past couple of weeks. Governor Reeves was sworn in for a second term, the House got a new Speaker, Jason White, and our lawmakers came together for the start of the new legislative session.

Amid the celebratory atmosphere, there was much talk about the need to work together to improve our state. It was great hearing leaders talk seriously about the need to improve the health of our state.

According to various indexes, the Magnolia state has some of the worst health outcomes in the country. What can state leaders actually do about it?

Often in politics, it is easier to define a problem than it is to solve it. State leaders might have plenty of powers, but the reality is they cannot always solve some of society’s most intractable problems.

However, there is one thing that our state leaders could do this legislative session which would significantly improve healthcare in Mississippi: abolish the anti-competitive laws in the health-care sector that intentionally limit the number of healthcare providers in our state.

According to a new report published by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy,  removing these outdated restrictions would boost health care in Mississippi, cutting costs, and improving access to treatment.

For several decades, if a healthcare provider wants to offer new services or expand existing services in 19 key areas of health care, it has to get a permit. These Soviet-style permits, known as Certificates of Need (CON), are also required for a provider wanting to spend more than $1.5 million on new medical equipment, relocate services from one part of the state to another, or change ownership.

Unlike other sensible licensing requirements, CON requirements are not designed primarily to assess a provider’s qualifications, safety record, or fitness. The Certificate of Need application process uses central planning to determine if each applicant’s services are “needed” by the community. I believe it should be up to patients and practicioners to decide what health-care is needed, not government bureaucrats.

In many parts of our state, there is not medical care where it is most needed. Much blame should fall on CON laws since they have intentionally restricted what is available. What started out a generation ago as a misguided attempt to restrict increases in health-care costs became a legally sanctioned protectionist scheme.

CON laws in Mississippi limit the provision of long term care, despite demographic change that has seen the number of elderly people needing care increase dramatically. Ambulatory services, key diagnostic services, psychiatric services and many other services are all limited by CON laws.

Mississippi’s leaders could remove the red tape restricting these services right away. Our report provides lawmakers with a list of options for reform.

If the case for change is so overwhelming, why has it not already been done?

In any market, when there are restrictions imposed to keep out the competition, there will be various vested interests lobbying for their retention. So, too, with CON laws.

Defenders of CON restrictions suggest that CON repeal would be risky and dangerous. They like to imply that any reform would reduce access and quality would suffer.

Such concerns are unfounded. Over 100 million Americans—nearly a third of the population—live in states without CON laws in health care. Four in ten Americans live in states with limited CON regimes that apply to only one or two services, such as ambulance services or nursing homes.

If our lawmakers are serious about improving healthcare in Mississippi, I hope they read our report, which sets out not only what needs to be done, but provides a roadmap explaining how to do it. Let’s get down to work. 

This post was authored  by Douglas Carswell, President & CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. The report, Mississippi’s Certificate of Need Laws: Options for Reform, can be accessed at  MCPP sponsored this post. 


Anonymous said...

Why is being healthy always associated with access to healthcare? State resources should go into educating Mississippians about the dangers of and eliminating processed foods from the diets of Mississippians.

Anonymous said...

He’s right but good luck doing anything! Hospitals are buying up private practices so there is no competition. If a billionaire built a world class hospital in Jackson he couldn’t open it because St D and Baptist would stop it. Crazy!

Anonymous said...


that's a very good question. Access to care is associated with number of healthcare provider visits (preventive care included).

which in turn, leads to better health outcomes (statistically)

Anonymous said...

2:25 PM, it has never been about access. That is the misdirection play.

Government doesn't want you to smoke and will use its power to root out tobacco products. But when it comes to obesity, government does nothing.

Anonymous said...

Cons control the CON process.

Anonymous said...

Hell hath no fury when a healthcare competitor seeks a CON.

Anonymous said...

Great report

Anonymous said...

Note that the improved healthcare promoted by the author did not have any mention of improved quality! Their words: “…removing these outdated restrictions would boost health care in Mississippi, cutting costs, and improving access to treatment.”

This is 100% true.

Healthcare of all varieties will sprought everwhere especially if there was some state incentive to provide to places like the Delta, etc.

Note also that nobody anywhere, where a need has been identified, has been denied a certificate, so dire the need.

So why this push. There’s money to be made at the expense of the taxpayers and the folks getting treatment.

Anonymous said...

"Access to care is associated with number of healthcare provider visits (preventive care included)."

SO, taken to its obvious conclusion, the best health care will be associated with daily appointments with the doctor (or doctor-substitute at the big organizations).

Good to know. Ka-Ching!

Anonymous said...

Increase supply of healthcare providers! Let the market decide what the "need" is not the government and incumbent providers.

Anonymous said...

If our government would take as good care of it's citizens as it does the illegals we would not have any problems with healthcare.

Anonymous said...

With all the Conversation these days being about Rural Hospitals going broke, not getting enough reimbursement fro BCBS, Medicare, Medicare etc, etc. I have to wonder why-how anyone would be interested in Building a New Hospital-thus needing a CON? I just don't quiet understand that?

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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