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Our Not-for-Profit Hospitals’ Profits

The March 4, 2013 issue of Time magazine has a superb and shocking article focused on the reasons for the accelerating health care costs in our country:

 

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2136864,00.html

 

The article points out that health care costs now comprise 20% of our Gross Domestic Product. To account for this huge expenditure, writer Steven Brill rightly points out that there are many economic sectors that have a stake in the health care ‘industry’, including the insurers, hospitals, doctors, pharmaceuticals, and lawyers. However, the most egregious of the profiteers in this “industry” are our hospitals, and especially our not-for-profit hospitals. Not-for-profit really is a euphemism for “not-for-taxes”. In addition, nonprofit hospitals have no shareholders. Consequently, our nonprofit hospitals are making huge operating profits, on the order of hundreds of million dollars/year. They enjoy making such gargantuan profits because they inflate the costs of every item used in that care of patients in a hospital stay by as much as 10,000-fold. Even more obscene are the salaries of the administrators of these profit centers, which account for a large share of the distribution of the profits. This article is a must-read for everyone. The irony is that in the 1960s when Medicare was under consideration, the AMA and doctors were aghast at the idea of “socialized medicine”. Now, fifty years later, doctors have lost their profession to the capitalists!

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