Critics say the pandemic-driven Provider Relief Fund widened the gap between haves and have-nots.[One of] the unintended consequences of a $178 billion bailout that Congress dumped into the national health-care system at the start of the pandemic in an urgent attempt to keep hospitals and doctors afloat. Two years later, data show that the money indeed served as a lifeline for many hospitals that might not have withstood the onslaught of the coronavirus — but the funds also exacerbated the gap between the industry’s haves and have-nots, disproportionately rewarding wealthy hospitals that did not need the money as urgently. Many institutions reported strong profits and pursued growth strategies without pause. Read More . . .