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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

TMA ASKS APPEALS COURT TO OVERTURN PHYSICIAN-OWNED HOSPITALS DECISION

TMA and The Physicians Foundation have filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit challenging President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Section 6001 of the act prohibits expansion or construction of physician owned hospitals (POHs), which we argue have better health care outcomes, shorter hospital stays, and much higher patient satisfaction ratings than non-POHs. We assert that the arguments lodged against POHs, which Congress relied upon to enact the law, are flawed and unreasonable. We argue that Section 6001 worsens conflicts of interest, removes competition, and limits physicians’ ability to make important health care decisions: “These aggressive non-POHs have eliminated the competition, and the result will be greater financial conflicts of interest, higher health care costs, fewer choices for patients, and less innovation.” We also applaud the significant community benefit POHs provide, contrasting it with the very profitable “not-for-profit” hospitals that do not pay federal or state income, property, or sales tax resulting in billions of dollars in tax breaks per year: “Whether through paying [billions in] taxes and employing thousands, providing hospital access in poor areas, or providing charity care, physician owned hospitals provide a contribution to society which is unmatched.”

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