Monday, August 11, 2008

Labor Union Members Hold Informational Demonstration About "Nonprofit" Hospital That Netted Nearly $500 Million in Profits Last Year

Local members of SEIU who comprise hospital workers and other service employees held an informational demonstration yesterday to educate the public about a local Portland, Oregon area hospital that grossed nearly $500 million in profits last year, yet is legally classified as a "nonprofit" organization under tax law. The labor union members were urging the hospital to lower it's excessive fees to patients and behave more like what one expect of a legitimate "nonprofit" organization.

Hospitals that classify themselves as "nonprofit" organizations have been notorious for having some of the worst fee inflation of any businesses sectors in the American economy for many years in a row while some segments of the economy such as the electronic industry has actually reduced many prices by significant amounts since even the 1970's despite inflation in raw goods, etc.

One famous example of the outrageous fees that many "nonprofit" hospitals charge is $8-12 for just two aspirins to patients, while the same patient could buy an entire large bottle at any Safeway store for less than $1. A one dollar bottle of aspirin can net a "nonprofit" hospital as much as $600 or more. Any many more examples of these type of outrageous fees charged by hospitals that hide behind a "nonprofit" status to evade taxes exist.

Hospitals like to justify their "nonprofit" status by claiming that they pour the money back into research, etc., however not all hospitals have research departments, and much of this research may be paid for by government grants or tapping donors for cash,etc.

The SEIU educational demonstration raised some important issues. The cost of medical care continues to skyrocket far beyond the inflation rates of other parts of the economy, and medicine is one of the most profitable industries out there, with massive Director and CEO salaries reaching into the heavens. Not your father's concept of a "nonprofit" organization?


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