Skip Navigation

Matthew Mitchell, Mercatus Center: Putting Politics Before Patients in America’s Hospitals

September 26, 2017

In many states, government regulators have the final say on whether there are too many doctors in your town. Are CON laws needed, or do they just put politics before patients?

In this episode of the daily Heartland Institute podcast, research fellow and managing editor Jesse Hathaway talks with Mercatus Center senior research fellow Matthew Mitchell about how regulatory cronyism harms the public’s health, and what state lawmakers can do to truly help people in need.

Certificate-of-need (CON) laws require medical providers to convince government bureaucrats that new services and equipment are needed in an area, before they can start serving patients.

Mitchell says providers receiving that approval are, in turn, able to corner the health care market, keeping their competitors down and creating an incentive to attempt to influence CON application approvals with political donations.

By keeping the “supply” of CON approvals artificially low, Mitchell says, government regulators increase the likelihood and value of favors and donations from interested health care companies, who benefit from the political connection.

Instead of meeting consumers’ health care needs, Mitchell says CON laws fulfill government regulators’ desire for political contributions and favors.

Article Tags
Health Care
Jesse Hathaway is a policy advisor for budget and tax issues at The Heartland Institute. @JesseinOH