Senator proposes strengthening criteria for nonprofit status

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) delivered a stinging rebuke to the nation's nonprofit hospitals, asking whether they deserve billions of dollars in government tax breaks.

In a press release, he suggests that nonprofits actually offer less care to the poor than their for-profit counterparts. "The public has a right to expect significant, measurable benefits in return for the tax breaks nonprofits receive," he said.

Lawmakers are investigating whether some tax-exempt hospitals and other healthcare providers overcharge their uninsured patients and use aggressive debt-collection tactics. Grassley has asked for a full breakdown of hospital charity care expenditures throughout various care settings and continuum, including long-term care.