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An excerpt from Sen. Jeff Edler’s newsletter:

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Also, this week I had several meetings with stakeholders in regards to the certificate of need (CON) reform bill, SF 2255. I have been working on this issue for the last 18 months in an effort to understand the original purpose of the federal legislation that mandated states to adopt CON policies to protect from unnecessary health service build out.

In 1974, Congress passed the National Health Planning and Resources Development Act, which required states to implement CON laws to be eligible for receiving certain federal funds. The interesting part of the history came in 1986 when the federal government repealed the CON mandate. The mandate was repealed due to the concerns around CONs inability to deliver on the original intent of reducing costs and duplication of health care services. It was found that in many instances the CON decreased access to quality, affordable health care and created an environment for higher-cost healthcare. The Federal Trade Commission has, in a bipartisan (commissioners from both parties) manner, advocated for the repeal of this outdated practice by the states. Thirty-five states to date still cling to the CON.

When I was elected in 2017, many constituents asked me to help contain their health care costs. Upon doing the research it is obvious the current CON has not delivered lower healthcare costs and certainly hasn’t delivered affordable access to certain services, especially to rural Iowa. Two prevalent examples are OB delivery and mental health services. While telehealth has become a partial answer to one of the challenges, I don’t know of any babies delivered by a computer.

Author: Jeff Edler

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