With the growth of government intervention over the last decade, the empty suggestion that private charities could step in and take back the role of helping the less fortunate is laughed at. Why does it have to be this way?
My mom was born in a charity hospital. Today there are no more charity hospitals left in my state. Were they forced out by giant corporations or an aggressive medical industry? Were they closed due to lack of funding or excess regulation?
Over the years, charity hospitals closed due to the Great Society legislation of Lyndon Johnson. In this legislation and expanding legislation since, the government can treat all hospitals like charity hospitals through programs like Medicaid. This isn't all bad on paper. A person can go to a hospital and get treated and if they qualify for a subsidy, they can get it. The hospital gets paid no matter if it's a county hospital or a Presbyterian hospital.
Charities are having a hard time competing against the government primarily because a charity can only spend what it collects as a foundation. The government can spend more than it collects and pretends that everyone enrolled in their programs are treated just like all citizens. Of course this isn't true.
Charities, unlike corporate businesses, are not allowed to have a learning curve for raising and allocating funds. A business is allowed to adjust their business model and even deny their investors a profit to shape their business. The first hint that a charity is not releasing a certain percentage of their funds and they're on the radar of their state's Attorney General. Perhaps a new taxable non-profit status would allow new charities to build powerful foundations for causes without the fear of unreasonable regulation.
Many doctors resent taking patients that are on government assistance. They know in advance they're not going to get paid for their costs. My mother who was born in the charity hospital and received treatment for polio in that same hospital today finds herself having problems finding a doctor who can treat her with post-polio syndrome under medicare. Her choices for doctors are very limited due to location and their acceptance of the insurance she is forced to have as a retired American citizen. How is that charitable? Most elderly people out there don't have children who insist that so-called government assistance is never an option for them.
There are charities out there battling away trying to help her and many have...but any shortfall is made up privately. And by privately I mean it's ME competing against bottomless government dollars.
Charities are slowly dying because they must compete against a government that doesn't even bother to count receipts anymore when they spend money on these programs that are designed to help people. Only when charities are able to forcefully make you donate to them, or print their own money will they ever play a significant role in America again. That's very sad and very true.