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Obama's Budget Would Hurt Healthcare Charitable Giving, Says Group

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 5, 2010

Budget proposals from the White House to reduce tax deductions for charitable donations and freeze discretionary spending will harm fundraising for nonprofit hospitals, said the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP).

The move, which includes capping charitable donations for those making more than $250,000 to 28%, will stop wealthy donors from giving to nonprofits and dry up funds to help the poor and underinsured, according to the group.

"Despite signs that the economy is starting to recover, nonprofits hospitals are struggling to keep up with the burgeoning numbers of under- and uninsured Americans that are seeking medical care in their local community emergency rooms," said William C. McGinly, president/CEO of AHP in a media release. "A limit on charitable deductions aimed at those who are in a financial position to make the most significant contributions sends the wrong message at the wrong time."

"This is a significant challenge," McGinly said.

"Hospitals have cut back on spending, mainly at the expense of necessary capital improvements. A three-year discretionary spending freeze is likely to cut back the ability of state and local governments to provide health-related grants and Medicaid funding, making it imperative for individuals, businesses and foundations to step up their philanthropic support."

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