Friday, March 19, 2010

Will Nonprofit Community Hospitals Make it to 2014?

President Obama stumped for health care reform, which provides coverage to millions in 2014. He failed to mention the current dire straits of many nonprofit community and government owned hospitals. Recent news shows:

Miami's Jackson Health System is in critical need of financial assistance to continue caring for the area's uninsured.

Coffee Health Group, an Alabama nonprofit hospital system, is selling out to a for-profit chain due to financial difficulties.
What contributed to this sad state for some caregivers? Legions of uninsureds continue to grow, as employers shed jobs and/or the health insurance benefit. Consider the numbers covered in the workplace:

2008-- 176 million (Census data)
2010-- 150 million (CBO scoring of Reconciliation bill)
CBO projects employers to add insurance to 14 million more workers by 2015. This is virtually erased by 2019.

The other source of pain for community hospitals comes from Medicaid & CHIP.

2011-2013-- 6 million people lose Medicaid or CHIP
Help starts in 2014, but it could be too late for many community hospitals. How many will be forced to sell out? White House Health Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle has her for-profiteering roots. Take the Alabama sale:

Nancy-Ann DeParle’s old firm LHP Hospital Group, of Plano, Texas was in the running for Coffee Health Group. LHP, an affiliate of CCMP Capital Partners (Nancy’s former employer), didn’t win.
Before LHP lost in Alabama, board member Nancy-Ann helped convert a New Jersey hospital.

There is one provision in the bill ensuring the end of "nonprofit community hospitals." The Senate re-branded them as "private, tax exempt facilities," long the wish of the Federation of American Hospitals, the proprietary hospital lobby. There is no language in the House amendment changing this mendacious designation.

These are all clues that health reform is designed to benefit the For-Profiteers.

Update: Representative Mike Conaway called health reform projections "smoke & mirrors," while sharing no data of his own. No surprise there. It didn't take long for a smattering of nonprofit hospitals to implode or sell out.

Update 2: The Wall Street Journal did a piece on hospital sellouts.

Update 8-24-11:  Many large employers plan to dump the health care benefit come 2014.  This makes CBO's projections more suspect.

Update  2-6-12:  Stressed hospitals in New Jersey plan to sell out.

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