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Does Nonprofit Ownership Matter?

Jill R. Horwitz

UCLA School of Law; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Yale Journal on Regulation, Vol. 24, Winter 2007
U of Michigan Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 07-004

In recent years, policymakers have increasingly questioned whether nonprofit institutions, particularly hospitals, merit tax exemption. They argue that nonprofit hospitals differ little from their for-profit counterparts in the provision of charity care and, therefore, should either lose their tax-exempt status or adhere to new, strict, and specific requirements to provide free services for the poor. In this Article, I present evidence that hospital ownership - whether it is for-profit, nonprofit, or government owned - has a significant effect on the mix of medical services it offers. Despite notoriously weak enforcement mechanisms, nonprofit hospitals act in the public interest by providing services that are unlikely to be offered by the other types of hospitals. Imposing onerous charity requirements or limiting nonprofit tax exemptions may have severe and unintended consequences for all patients, including the well-insured.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 62

Keywords: nonprofit

JEL Classification: L31, H20

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Date posted: February 26, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Horwitz, Jill R., Does Nonprofit Ownership Matter?. Yale Journal on Regulation, Vol. 24, Winter 2007; U of Michigan Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 07-004. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=964961

Contact Information

Jill R. Horwitz (Contact Author)
UCLA School of Law ( email )
Box 951476
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-206-1577 (Phone)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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