Health Care: How “Non-Profit” Hospitals Are Driving Up Medical Costs

From an NPR online article:

Yale School of Public HealthThe irony is most hospitals are “nonprofit,” a status that makes them tax exempt. Many (but not all) do enough charity work to justify tax benefits, yet it’s clear nonprofit hospitals are very profitable. They funnel much of the profits into cushy salaries, shiny equipment, new buildings, and, of course, lobbying. In 2018, hospitals and nursing homes spent over $100 million on lobbying activities. And they spent about $30 million on campaign contributions. Health industries have also been funneling hefty sums into dark money groups. But their political power isn’t just the result of lobbying or electioneering. Hospitals are often the biggest employers in states and cities across America.

recent study by Yale School of Public Health economist Zack Cooper and colleagues takes a look at hospital politics and helps shed light on why American health care is so insanely expensive.

Cooper and his colleagues have spent years investigating whether this was true, filing Freedom of Information Act requests and crunching data. They’ve uncovered evidence that suggests it was true. They find that legislators who were on the fence and voted “yea” for the legislation were 700% more likely to see a large bump in Medicare payment rates to hospitals in their district. Between 2005 and 2010, Congress shelled out over $2 billion to 88 hospitals through the horse-trading Section 508 provision. It was a clear win for these hospitals, which spent the money on more equipment, buildings, services, and staff.

To read more: https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/10/15/769792903/how-non-profit-hospitals-are-driving-up-the-cost-of-health-care

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