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What if American Catholic hospitals close?

Catholic World News - March 02, 2012

If Catholic hospitals close their doors because of the Obama contraception mandate, could the public sector absorb the cost of substituting for those medical services? The Fiscal Times examines that question.

The Catholic Church administers roughly one-eighth of all American hospitals and serve roughly one-sixth of the patients, running up total expenses close to $100 billion. The Catholic institutions serve a disproportionate number of needy patients.

Compared to their competition, Catholic hospitals take a leading role in providing less-profitable services to patients. They lead the sector in breast cancer screenings, nutrition programs, trauma, geriatric services, and social work. In most of these areas, other non-profits come close, but hospitals run by state and local governments fall significantly off the pace. Where patients have trouble paying for care, Catholic hospitals cover more of the costs

Because the Catholic hospitals do not seek to run at a profit, private enterprises are unlikely to buy the institutions. So more than 120,000 hospital beds could be lost—unless the government chooses to pick up the extra $100 billion in costs.

These sobering statistics, the Fiscal Times analysis notes, do not account for Catholic institutions other than hospitals: nursing homes, clinics, infirmaries, and other facilities that provide health care.

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  • Posted by: FredC - Mar. 03, 2012 4:18 PM ET USA

    If they try to close, the government will confiscate them on the grounds that the people must be served. Those heroic doctors who refuse the serve at the confiscated hospitals will have their licenses suspended because they are no longer serving the public good. Don't under-estimate the devil.

  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 02, 2012 7:52 PM ET USA

    The hospitals should not be closed. Surely, there must be something in Faithful Citizenship that will enable Catholic institutions and Catholic workers to rationalize performing abortions, doing sterilizations and dispensing birth control pills. Maybe paragraph 35 will do it for them. If they can't find the words or phrases, they should consult with Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good. They'll find a way, just like 54% of the Catholic voters who elected and prefer Obama.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Mar. 02, 2012 7:41 PM ET USA

    Popes and bishops have suffered imprisonment and worse in the past for standing up to tyrants. We may be on the lip of such a volcano again. Mary is patron of our country; may she pray for us to be delivered from these evil people.

  • Posted by: GymK - Mar. 02, 2012 7:40 PM ET USA

    This is a poor argument. It is the same argument used in the 1970's when Catholics thought that the public educational system couldn't function if we shut down our schools. Well, look around. They are doing fine and our schools are either closed or are running on public support and following their rules on textbooks, sex ed, health care, etc. (Exceptions are some small parent-initated schools running without federal aid.) This argument is about principles, not about money.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Mar. 02, 2012 6:01 PM ET USA

    They will have to be closed,and a lot of folks will be out of work,straining the economy even worse.

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