North Carolina surgeon’s effort to make MRIs affordable impeded by state law

A surgeon attempting to make MRIs more affordable for North Carolina residents filed a lawsuit Monday, July 30, in the state’s Superior Court to overturn a law that’s barring him from purchasing his own MR machine, Vox has reported.

Gajendra Singh, who was born in India, decided to open his own imaging center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, after being told an ultrasound for “some vague abdominal pain he was feeling” could cost him $1,200, according to Vox. While he was a well-paid surgeon, most of the U.S. population isn’t, so how are they supposed to afford such pricey exams?

Singh opened his business in August 2017, advertising prices as low as $500 for an MRI in a country where Americans are sometimes charged $24,000 for the same procedure in an emergency room. 

But he soon ran into North Carolina’s “certificate of need” law, which prohibited him from buying his own permanent MRI machine. Such laws have been repealed in 14 states after lawmakers found they were often put in place to protect hospitals from their competition, Vox reported, but North Carolina’s protected theirs.

If Singh is successful in overturning the law, he’d be able to buy a machine for his center, which would bring in more money and ultimately allow him to lower prices further for his patients, he said. Right now he’s only able to perform MRIs two days a week, via a mobile unit.

“If I wanted to just have money, I didn’t have to do all this stuff,” he told Vox. “Do I want to make money? Absolutely. But I didn’t open this imaging center to buy a Lamborghini.”

Read Vox’s full profile at the link below.