Chuck Grassley is a fiercely independent Republican Senator from Iowa. Parochially he's interested in defending rural hospitals, but on the national scale he's one of the main voices pushing for reform of the FDA and to stop what he perceives as specialty hospitals "gaming" Medicare. Now he's gong a step further. As reported in FierceHealthcare on Thursday, Grassley is now looking directly at the business operations of the not-for-profit hospital sector and has directly challenged 10 of the biggest and most prestigious to identify what they do that justifies that status.
Given that almost all hospitals outside the safety-net sector are run in a similar business manner whatever their official status, and that many of the hospitals which have thus far been unsuccessfully sued for discriminating against the uninsured are not-for-profit, this is indeed a good question. But it's one that no one has dared to ask because of the power of the AHA lobby. But as healthcare becomes more of a burden on the taxpayer when the boomers retire, the few Congressmen interested in the greater social good and/or greater value for the taxpayer will be demanding more and more evaluation of where the money goes.
On another note, FierceHealthcare will not publish on Monday because of the Memorial Day holiday. We'll return Tuesday, May31. - Matthew