Nonprofit health-care institutions may need to rejustify their tax-exempt status if national health-care reforms are passed, finance officials said last week.

Paul Cooney, a partner at the law firm of Foley & Lardner, said that up until now 501(c)(3) health-care institutions have justified their tax exemption by pointing to their role as providers of charity care for poor people. That argument could be called into question if universal health care becomes a reality, he said.

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