Hospitals Mobilizing to Fight Proposed Charity Care Rules 2009: Washington 151

Hospitals Mobilizing to Fight Proposed Charity Care Rules

WASHINGTON &151 Hospitals plan to begin a lobbying campaign this week to prevent Congress from including charity care requirements in legislation to overhaul the

health care system. The latest on President Obama, the new administration and other news from Washington and around the nation. The Senate Finance Committee is considering a bipartisan proposal that would require hospitals to provide &8220a minimum annual level of charitable care&8221 as a condition for getting or keeping the tax-exempt status available to charitable organizations. In a bulletin on Thursday, the American Hospital Association urged hospital leaders around the country to contact Congress by telephone or e-mail. &8220Ask your senators to oppose charity care proposal,&8221 the bulletin said in big bold type. The debate is one of many battles raging behind the scenes as Congress returns this week for a push on health care legislation, among other issues. New, more stringent standards for tax-exempt hospitals were among the policy options set forth two weeks ago by the Finance Committee chairman, , Democrat of Montana, and the senior Republican on the panel, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa.

In a study last year, the Massachusetts Hospital Association said that coverage of the uninsured, under a 2006 state law, had reduced the demand for free care.

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