News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Wilson
For Immediate Release: April 13, 2017
Sen. Wilson Welcomes Support of U.S. FTC and DOJ
JUNEAU – Today, Sen. David Wilson (R-Wasilla) welcomed a joint statement of support from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division for his effort to introduce competition into Alaska’s healthcare market.
“We’re glad the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice are on board with our fight to introduce market reforms to Alaska’s healthcare system,” said Sen. Wilson. “As government officials, we should not lose sight of a basic truth that competition improves the quality and lowers the costs of services; it’s what drives innovation and ultimately leads to the delivery of better healthcare.”
The joint statement, released yesterday, came in response to a request by Sen. Wilson for comment on his measure, Senate Bill 62, which would repeal Alaska’s certificate-of-need (CON) laws.
“CON laws raise considerable competitive concerns and generally do not achieve their alleged benefits for health care consumers,” said FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen in the statement. “CON laws can restrict entry and expansion, limit consumer choice, and stifle innovation. Additionally, the CON process can be exploited by incumbent firms to thwart or delay entry by new competitors, as well as potentially obstruct efforts to restore competition lost to an anticompetitive merger, harming free markets and consumers.”
What began as a federal mandate under the National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974, the CON law’s intent was to cut down on healthcare costs and over capitalization of healthcare facilities and services.
In 1987, however, the CON mandate was repealed as a result the program’s failure to effectively restrain healthcare costs. Fifteen states have since scrapped the CON program, while the approval and oversight process varies in the remaining states.
SB 62 was referred to the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.