Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Horwitz Presents Why We (Still) Need Non-Profit Hospitals Today At San Diego

Jill R. Horwitz (UCLA) presents Do We (Still) Need Nonprofit Hospitals? Ownership, Community Benefits, and Medical Services at San Diego today as part of its Tax Law Speaker Series

Jill-horwitzAlmost sixty years ago, observers predicted that the passage of Medicare and Medicaid would bring universal health insurance coverage and, therefore, would end the need for nonprofit hospitals. The ACA brought with it similar predictions. Yet nonprofit hospitals continue to exist. And, to the dismay of some critics and regulators, they continue both to earn substantial revenues and to provide only a little more free care to needy patients than comparable for-profit hospitals. In fact, it is unlikely that free care has ever been a distinguishing feature of nonprofit hospitals. At least some inmates in almshouses and some patients in the earliest American hospitals paid for their treatments with fees or with labor. To answer whether we need nonprofit hospitals—historically and today—requires evaluating the medical care they provide rather than spending on free care. Since at least the 1980s, nonprofits have provided a remarkably different mix of services, measured by their relative profitability, than their for-profit counterparts.

These differences may provide an answer to why we still have nonprofits.

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