According to Senator Joyce Krawiec, if you require dialysis, North Carolina is the second most expensive state in the country to be treated. Only New York is more expensive according to the Senator.
Dialysis is a process that removes excess toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys are unable to perform. For most patients, the process takes several hours and must be performed three or more times a week. With over 150 treatments a year, it's not hard to see how the costs can stack up.
It is extremely difficult to find the actual cost of many medical procedures and dialysis is no exception. However, according to Blue Cross NC's cost treatment estimator tool, the cost per treatment at some clinics can come close to $18,000.
Compare that to the $248 that Medicare pays for a single dialysis treatment.
Senator Krawiec's, who co-chairs the Senate Health Care committee, made her comments during a committee meeting on Thursday, June 13 as part of a discussion about North Carolina's "certificate of need" or "CON" laws.
CON laws require firms like dialysis clinics to prove the community "needs" a new clinic before opening. This means that existing dialysis clinics are effectively protected by the government from any potential competition. As a result, there is no need for them to compete for patient business by either reducing the cost or improving quality.
According to the John Locke Foundation, North Carolina has some of the most restrictive CON laws in the country.