(Here is the latest edition of the Institute for Justice’s weekly Short Circuit newsletter, written by John Ross.)

Over at the The Orange County Register, IJ’s Director of Strategic Research Dick M. Carpenter II explains how “bottleneckers” exploit government power for their own gain. It’s a subject dear to your humble summarist’s heart, as he once helped Dr. Carpenter and IJ Chairman Chip Mellor write a book about it.
Dr. Lee Birchansky wants to open an outpatient surgery center next to his ophthalmology practice in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sadly, that would be a criminal act because state health planners, doing the bidding of the two hospitals where all such surgeries in the area are performed, have repeatedly rejected his applications for the required “certificate of need.” (Ironically, after years of arguing that Dr. Birchansky’s facility is not needed, one of those hospitals broke ground on a new eye-care facility last year.) The state has no objection to Dr. Birchansky doing surgeries; it just wants him to work for an already-established business, rather than for himself. That’s bad policy, and unconstitutional too, so last week Dr. Birchansky filed suit against Iowa’s certificate-of-need law. Read more about the case here.
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