Focus Point - The Feds Crack Down on Charity

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

I had to read the wall street journal story twice to believe it. The department of health and human services investigated a new jersey hospital which treated any patient, rich or poor, for free. And now, the Deborah Heart and Lung Center faces civil and criminal charges, prosecution and fines -- for dispensing charity.

The department's outraged because Deborah accepts Medicare without requiring patient co-payments. It says the hospital has to bill those who can pay. But the hospital says abandoning the free-to-all policy would hurt its fundraising.

This administration loves to squawk about the plight of the uninsured. Well, Deborah does about a third of all the heart surgery on uninsured patients in the state. And does it while continuing an old tradition of free hospitals -- hospitals that are just about gone thanks, in part, to Medicare's burdensome regulations.

So do I have it right? Our government is against free medical care for the poor?

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, smart moves in the house.