Charity care alone cannot measure a hospital’s value to its community, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said today at a Brookings Institution roundtable on health care economics after implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He took part in a panel examining a proposed “tradable credit system” for charity care for non-profit hospitals. “The greatest benefit to a community is to keep people healthy,” Pollack said. Every community is unique, and that is why the field provides a broad range of services from bringing a grocery store to a food desert to opening a clinic to serve low-income pregnant women, he said.  In a study released today as part of the roundtable, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management researchers propose requiring a redistribution of charity care dollars among hospitals with higher and lower levels of charity care. But Pollack said relying on charity care alone misses the bigger picture of how hospitals serve their communities. “Charity care is not a substitute for coverage,” he added. “And if we truly want to build a society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health – which is the AHA’s vision – we need full coverage.”