A new study says certificate of need laws, like the ones on the books in Illinois, are driving up the cost of health care.

New hospitals, birth centers and out-patient care clinics in Illinois are required to get a certificate of need, essentially a government review to see if the facility is needed, before they can even break ground.

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A new Mercatus Center study said those requirements make health care more expensive.

Illinois' Health Facilities and Service Review Board reviews and approves certificates of need. The study's author, James Bailey, said ostensibly the board seeks to control health care costs.

But Bailey said certificates of need actually limit the supply of care.

"Not just hospitals — ambulatory surgery centers, long-term care facilities, neonatal centers, rehabilitation centers, lots of different services,” Bailey said.

Bailey said it's simple economics: high demand and low supply leads to higher prices.

Bailey's study said care in states such as Illinois is as much as 5 percent higher than in states without certificates of need requirements.

"Health spending, overall, will fall between 3 and 6 percent,” Bailey said. “Charges by hospitals will also fall about 5 or 6 percent.”

Bailey said Indiana saw similar price decreases after lawmakers there ended the state's certificate of need requirements.

Illinois' Health Facilities and Service Review Board has a storied history of corruption. Board members were caught in a bribe scandal under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

 Lawmakers have proposed eliminating the board, but the legislation failed to gain much traction in Springfield.


(Copyright WBGZ / www.AltonDailyNews.com)