Monday, February 12, 2024

Horwitz: Threatening Nonprofit Hospital Tax Exemption - A Better Path Forward

Download (23)Jill Horwitz (UCLA) has published Threatening Nonprofit Hospital Tax Exemption - A Better Path Forward, JAMA (2024). Here is the introduction:

Unaccountable raiders of the public trust. Rip-off artists. Rapacious exploiters of the vulnerable. These kinds of epithets are more suited to describing criminals than nonprofit hospitals. Nonetheless, confronted with the intractable problems of US health care—rising costs, inadequate insurance, staffing crises, medical debt, intolerable inequity, and more—commentators and policy makers have blamed these systemic failures on nonprofit hospitals, vilifying them in the strongest terms as untrustworthy and undeserving of tax exemption. Detractors argue that tax exemption is justified only if the amount of free health care nonprofit hospitals provide exceeds the value of their tax benefits,1 ignoring the contributions these hospitals make to the public good by curing disease and promoting health.

Regulating nonprofit hospitals in this way would not only fail to fix these systemic problems but also exacerbate harm and inequity in the current system. Fortunately, there are better legal tools to hold nonprofit hospitals accountable to their charitable purposes.

Lloyd Mayer

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