In light of the expected role HMOs will play in this country's health care reform, the continued debate over the Service's position regarding tax exemption for HMOs, the recent judicial confirmation of the Service's position regarding tax exemption for HMOs, the recent judicial confirmation of the Service's position, and proposals to codify the requirements a tax-exempt HMO must meet, a closer look at HMOs and the questions involving their tax exemption is warranted. Specifically, this note will examine the criteria that hospitals must meet to attain tax-exempt status and will consider the appropriateness of these criteria with respect to HMOs. This will entail a closer look at the Service's current position with respect to HMOs and the case law that has evolved in the hospital and HMO area. Also, this note will examine the law defining insurance providers and consider the arguments that have and will be asserted regarding whether HMOs are simply insurance companies. Finally, this note will conclude with the suggestion that the question of tax exemption for HMOs is purely a policy question that should be viewed apart from hospitals and insurance companies, whereby Congress should simply consider whether tax-exempt managed health care companies are beneficial to our health care system.
Note, Tax Exemption to Health Maintenance Organizations: What's the Issue and Who Should Decide It, 9 J.L. & Health 187 (1994-1995)