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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter identifies ways in which nonprofit healthcare organizations are treated differently, both from similar for-profits and from nonprofits outside of the healthcare industry. These differences arise in disparate areas of law such as tax, antitrust, medical practice, and tort. Having identified salient examples of health law’s special treatment of nonprofits and nonprofit law’s special treatment of healthcare entities, the chapter analyzes justifications for this differential treatment. Health law often treats nonprofit health entities more leniently than for-profits because it misunderstands the requirements of nonprofit law; it sometimes assumes, incorrectly, that nonprofits must relieve poverty to hold nonprofit status and associated privileges. To the contrary, nonprofit status and privileges are granted for a much broader range of reasons. Many nonprofits, including healthcare nonprofits, do not relieve poverty but make other contributions to the public good that qualify them for nonprofit status and associated privileges. In other instances, sometimes based on the same misunderstandings, contemporary nonprofit laws impose more oversight and regulation on nonprofit health organizations than other nonprofits. The chapter concludes that the exceptional treatment of nonprofit health providers, either by health law or nonprofit law, serves to operate at cross-purposes, with the law sometimes favoring and at other times disfavoring the same entities for the same expected behavior.

Keywords: nonprofit healthcare organizations, tax, antitrust, tort law, statute, regulation, health law, nonprofit law, healthcare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

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