If you thought Obamacare’s underlying motive was to help the poor or insure the uninsured, think again.  Last week, Daily Caller reported on an obscure section of the Obamacare law that would undermine nonprofit hospitals’ efforts to care for the poor.  As the article claims that 60% of hospitals are nonprofit, we thought we should take a look at which hospitals in our area might be affected.  It turns out, many of our most well-known and beloved hospitals are in Obama’s crosshairs.  Tax-exempt hospitals dedicate a portion of their expenses to treat insured and indigent patients.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Children’s Hospital Colorado – perhaps the region’s best hospital for really sick kids
  • Craig Hospital – one of the nation’s top hospitals for the treatment of spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries
  • National Jewish – a hospital that draws patients from across the region for its life-saving respiratory care

And, it doesn’t end there.  Other hospitals include Denver’s St. Joe’s, Englewood’s Porter Adventist, Boulder Community Hospital, Englewood’s Swedish Hospital, and Lakewood’s St. Anthony’s.  And, those are just some in the Denver metro area.

So, what’s in store for these hospitals?  Under section 501 in the new Internal Revenue Service Code implemented under Obamacare, nonprofit hospitals are required to prove the necessity of their existence in their geographic area via a “community needs survey” that is then evaluated by IRS bureaucrats (because that’s gone so well before).  The Daily Caller interviewed John Kartch with Americans for Tax Reform, who explained the consequences:

“Failure to comply, or to prove this continuing need, could result in the loss of the hospital’s tax-exempt status. The hospital would then become a for-profit venture, paying income tax — hence the positive revenue score [for the federal government]. Obamacare advocates turned over every rock to find as much tax money as possible.”

To be sure, hospitals of all tax statuses have caused frustration with patients from time to time.  And, it’s well-acknowledged that our healthcare system is broken.  It just seems like pulling the rug out from really sick patients by making healthcare more complicated and costly for nonprofit hospitals to provide, particularly for the poor, does a disservice to patients and providers alike.