Well, folks, if you thought Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was ready to take a breather on the subject of non-profit hospital tax breaks, think again. This week, the Senator used a hearing on incentives for lowering the rates of the uninsured and under-insured in the U.S. to bring the topic up again. At the hearing, which was held by the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley had a 53-year-old leukemia patient testify about her experience with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which demanded a total of $105,000 in cash up front before it would provide chemotherapy.
In discussing the issue, Grassley noted that M.D. Anderson is a non-profit "funded through taxpayers' dollars and charitable gifts," making its actions particularly troubling. As he has many times in the past, Grassley hinted that non-profit tax breaks could be in danger if the hospitals engage in this type of billing practice.
Among other things, Grassley has also proposed that rules be enacted to set minimum levels of charitable spending a not-for-profit would be required to make to keep its tax-free status. Meanwhile, the IRS is taking a closer look at such issues as it rolls out its Form 990, Schedule H, which will require detailed reporting on charitable spending by hospitals.
To learn more about Grassley's discussion at the hearing:
- read this Wall Street Journal blog item
Senator may seek tougher charity rules for nonprofits
Senator wants nonprofit hospital investigation
IRS to investigate nonprofit hospitals
Charity care under fire