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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Crusade Against 'Charitable' Hospitals' Pursuit of Patients for Unpaid Bills

Amanda W. Thai (J.D. 2011, Iowa) has published Note, Is Senator Grassley Our Savior?: The Crusade Against “Charitable” Hospitals Attacking Patients for Unpaid Bills, 96 Iowa L. Rev. 761 (2011). Here is the abstract:

This Note addresses 501(c)(3) tax-exempt hospitals’ practice of aggressively pursuing uninsured patients for outstanding medical bills. Specifically, this Note will examine whether Senator Chuck Grassley’s additions to President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which imposes stricter requirements on hospitals for keeping their taxexemption status, is a viable way of approaching the situation. This Note requires a look at historical context, current circumstances, and a possible model for reform. This Note argues that Senator Grassley’s additions are a step in the right direction. However, the additions must orient themselves to local communities, demand clearer tax-exemption requirements, and also develop public discourse around the matter to effect long-term change, in accordance with the changing perspective of healthcare in the United States from within the industry and from society at large.

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The article begins with an assertion that has been widely circulated, but also pretty-well debunked:

"The leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States is medical bills."

It is difficult to take the rest seriously after that opening line.

Posted by: TomPaine4 | May 1, 2011 12:24:02 PM