Nonprofit health care organizations, whether involved in the financing and/or delivery of services, have long been the backbone of the
American health care system. The reasons for governments’ and businesses’ traditional support of this "third sector" lie in a number of
basic beliefs and values held by most Americans as well as in this sector’s proven performance*:
- Health care, like education, is a "public good" or "social service", essential to human dignity and the pursuit of happiness.
- A healthy society rests on the health and well-being of its citizens.
- Health care needs differ locally and are best prioritized and addressed within the political, social and economic fabric of each community.
- Government cannot and should not try to meet all of society’s needs, and “running things” is generally best left to the private sector.
- At the same time, private investor-owned organizations are driven and legally obligated to do well financially in meeting societal needs, with profits primary, whereas private nonprofit health care organizations are obligated to “do good” for the benefit of their communities, with a reasonable level of profits over time a means to that end.
- In particular, on a subsidized basis, nonprofit health care organizations seek to: advocate and meet the needs of vulnerable people in their communities; provide medical education and research; and promote health and prevent disease for all members of their communities. In these respects, nonprofit health care organizations serve as our country’s health care financing and delivery safety-net.
*Private sector reports (e.g., National Commission for Quality Assurance, JD Power and
Associates) as well as government reports (e.g. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
continually demonstrate superior performance by nonprofit health care organizations as a
group compared to their counterparts in terms of quality, customer satisfaction and costs--
earning greater trust from those they serve.