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Friday, February 26, 2016
Hawaii CON Law Throttles Health Care Access
By News Release @ 10:08 PM :: 4000 Views :: Health Care

Certificates of Need Aren't Always Needed

by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Sometimes the government tells us there's something we need that we really don't need and, frankly, can live better without. That's often the case with certificates of need. CoNs refer to the legal document/permission required from the state before the expansion, creation, or acquisition of health care facilities.

Recently, Grassroot  testified at the State Legislature that CoNs, though meant to constrain health care costs and prevent the duplication of services, actually create a burden for the elderly, poor, and those who require emergency services. Requiring a business to seek permission from its competitors before expanding is a pathway to corruption and cronyism.

To promote better decision making, we presented legislators with our research into the best practices of other states. Fourteen states have repealed their CoN laws, opting for less intrusive methods of oversight. As we look to improve health care access, especially on the neighbor islands, reevaluating Hawaii's CoN law is an important step.

  *   *   *   *   *

Grassroot Institute Testifies in Support of CON Law Reform

Watchdog group says it's time to reevaluate law that can throttle health care access 

News Release from Grassroot Institute

HONOLULU, HAWAII--February 26, 2016--Today, the Grassroot Institute offered testimony on HR 3 and HCR 9, House resolutions that direct the auditor to study the effects of Hawaii's Certificate of Need law. In comments that focused on addressing issues with health care costs and access, President Keli'i Akina supported a full and honest reassessment of the law and its effect on the neighbor islands and the most vulnerable populations.

"More than 40 years have passed since Hawaii enacted its Certificate of Need law, and in that time, we have seen significant changes to health care," stated Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute. "Fourteen states have repealed their CON laws after determining that they do little to constrain costs and can disproportionately affect the poor, elderly and people needing emergency care."

Dr. Akina continued: "The best way of ensuring lower health care costs and greater access would be to encourage competition. CON laws, on the other hand, encourage cronyism and bureaucracy and can even result in hospital shortages. There are less intrusive, more effective ways for the state to discourage rising costs and duplication of services. We have been making progress in improving health care in Hawaii by questioning previous assumptions about the state's role in the market. A reevaluation of the CON law is the next logical step in that process."


About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region.  Read more about us at

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About Grassroot President:

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.,  is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii.  Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government.  An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University.  Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the 2014 General Election run-off.


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