Florida voters may get to decide whether to eliminate a healthcare permit called a certificate of need. But some are questioning if the ballot is the right place to make that decision.
Certificates of need keep prices under control, the argument goes, by ensuring the patient pool isn’t spread too thin. But critics argue the system allows existing businesses to block potential competitors.
Constitutional Revision Commissioner Frank Kruppenbacher points to Adventist Health’s response after losing a bid last year.
“Adventist then turns and says oh we’re going to challenge the CON—there’s no need for another hospital,” Kruppenbacher says, “I rest my case, right?”
“Yeah, there’s a need if we get to put it there,” he goes on, “there’s not a need if you want to put it there.”
His proposal eliminating certificates is advancing to the full Constitution Revision Commission after gaining approval in its only committee stop. But Commissioner and Republican state Representative Jeanette Nunez opposes it.
“I would just say that putting this in the constitution would be asking voters to weigh in on a very highly technical nuanced issue,” Nunes explains, “which in my opinion is why they elect representatives and senators to do the hard work.”
Legislation rolling back the certificate system has already made it to the floor in the state House. Governor Rick Scott, a former hospital CEO, is a proponent of eliminating the permits.