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The arts to subsidize insurance industry profits?

0 Robert Levine

Evidently the fact that nonprofits employ 10% or so of the US workforce has escaped the attention of those in Congress writing health care reform legislation:

Nonprofit organizations say they are upset that Congress and the Obama administration have not addressed their rising health care costs in the various health care proposals being floated on Capitol Hill.

The main bill in the House would award a tax credit to small businesses that provide their employees with health insurance — but nonprofits do not pay income taxes and thus would not benefit.

“Why should employees of nonprofits be treated worse than employees of for-profit businesses?” said Jonathan A. Small, government affairs consultant at the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York…

Some nonprofit groups have called for a subsidy along the lines of the Earned Income Tax Credit, in which money would be returned to organizations that demonstrate they have paid for an employee’s health care.

As a group, nonprofit organizations are the nation’s fourth-largest employer. But their advocates say policy makers know little about the workings of nonprofits, which pay payroll taxes and, in rare instances, taxes on unrelated business activities, but are exempt from taxes on their income.

“In this administration, there are so many people who came from the nonprofit community, but they don’t really seem to think about the unique laws and rules that govern it,” said Diana Aviv, president and chief executive of the Independent Sector, a nonprofit trade association.

When the concerns of nonprofit groups were raised on a conference call after the president’s speech on Wednesday, representatives from the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs were taken aback, and nonprofits have reported similar reactions from staff members in House and Senate offices.

“We had our nonprofit lobbying day on Capitol Hill in July, and our members spoke to their elected officials about this issue,” said Tim Delaney, chief executive of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations. “We heard a constant refrain: ‘Gee, we never thought about nonprofits as employers before’ ”…

A recent survey of nonprofit groups by the Listening Post Project at Johns Hopkins found that the impact of rising health care costs was “mammoth.”

This sounds like a good project for the various advocacy groups in our field to get together on. It would be nice if arts groups didn’t have to subsidize insurance company profits more than companies that actually make money.

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