March to progress

With every passing day, Americans learn more and more about the Affordable Care Act. The more we learn about this landmark law, the more we realize the chilling effect it will have on the American public. As we all know, this country is nearly $17 trillion in debt, and nearly 22 million people are unemployed (see real unemployment figures). Who is to pay for healthcare for all? It will be the lower and middle classes getting the bill yet again for bloated government bureaucracy. Sadly, price is only one variable that makes up the failure of the ACA.

A new provision in the act will greatly impact how non-profit hospitals conduct patient care and thus impact Williamsport and surrounding communities. When the act arrives in all of its glory, non-profit hospitals will more than likely need to operate more like a for-profit hospital. Why? According to the act, all Americans will have health insurance; therefore, charitable care parameters will become even stricter. Non-profit hospitals remain tax-exempt due to the charitable care they provide to those in the community who cannot pay. When “everyone” has insurance under the act, non-profit hospitals will no longer remain tax-exempt unless they can prove to federal bureaucrats that they meet strict criteria in their charitable care.

As more hospitals turn to for-profit status, this means more taxes, which would make the federal government very happy indeed. In the end look for smaller hospitals to be acquired by bigger, for-profit hospitals in the near future. This trend has already begun across the country.

What’s the big deal if bigger hospitals acquire smaller hospitals, as long as they provide care to their patients? What happens if you have lousy care at Hospital A and want to try the services provided at Hospital B or even hospital C? Yet, you come to find out that Hospitals B and C were acquired by hospital A. It seems that the consumer is getting the raw end of the deal here again. Can you imagine a future where there are roughly 200 or so “hospital companies” in the entire country? Stay healthy my friends.

Christopher Erdman

South Williamsport

Submitted by Virtual?Newsroom