Posted BY: Janet Levy
When Katie Chubb’s baby was due in early 2020, her husband Nicholas had to drive her from Augusta, Georgia, where they live, to a freestanding birth center in Atlanta — nearly 150 miles away. During her pregnancy, she made 15 round trips to the center for prenatal care. The Augusta area does not have centers for natural childbirth, so from her own experience, Chubb saw an opportunity for a small business to provide a much-needed service and decided to set up one. But Georgia has denied the center permission to operate, so she is suing the state because the reason for denial — while valid under current state law — is unreasonable by the norms of free-market economics and violates important individual rights.
Imagine the authorities denying Wells Fargo permission to open a branch because the local Bank of America tells it the new outlet isn’t needed, as it would duplicate BoA’s services. Seems unthinkable. But Certificate of Need (CON) requirements in health care, created in the 1960s and in operation in 35 states and Washington, D.C., demand that hospitals in an area endorse the need for a new hospital or health care facility, even for the acquisition of new equipment.