Cost of Dying Adjustment


After a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to crush Oklahoma's casket cartel, the Institute for Justice has turned its attention to Maryland's protectionist regulation of the death industry. In particular, I.J. is challenging a requirement that funeral home owners be licensed funeral home directors. Although Maryland lets widows of licensed funeral home directors and executors of their estates take over the business, it won't let an entrepreneur open a funeral home and pay somebody else to do the icky body handling. The privilege of hiring professional help is reserved for an elite list of corporations. "As a result of the cartel," I.J. estimates, "a Maryland funeral costs about $800 more than it would in a more open market." As in Oklahoma, I.J.'s lawsuit claims Maryland's anticompetitive rules violate the 14th Amendment's Due Process, Equal Protection, and Privileges or Immunities clauses.