Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

Prosperity Part II

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Continuing yesterday’s theme of prosperity preachers, it seems even the non-profits that were created to help the poor seem to have a different vision of what that means, exactly.

The Wall Street Journal profiled Ascension Health, a Catholic hospital chain, in an article entitled, “Nonprofit Hospitals Leave the City for Greener Pastures” (October 14, 2008). Turns out that Ascension seems to believe that hospitals in poor areas should be self-sufficient, thus it won’t subsidize a hospital that’s losing money.  Sure, we’ll help the poor, just so long as it doesn’t cost us anything.

Ignoring the whole “Christian” aspect for a moment, I have a huge problem with this because we, the taxpayers, give organizations like Ascension a pass on taxes with the explicit assumption that they provide charity care and thus require such subsidy for the public good.  Exemptions from property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, plus the ability to accept tax-deductible contributions easily add up to far more than the 2.5% Ascension claims to spend on charity care each year. And, sadly, 2.5% is the HIGHEST percentage among the nation’s five largest nonprofit hospital systems.

Taking care of the poor is just one more feel-good way to make people rich and powerful.  (Did I mention the CEO was paid $2.4 million in 2006?  Interestingly, the company won’t provide more recent figures…)