US Health Care Financing System is Broken – Most Bankruptcies Due To Medical Debt

30 Jun US Health Care Financing System is Broken – Most Bankruptcies Due To Medical Debt

“The US health care financing system is broken, and not only for the poor and uninsured”  According to a recent study in The American Journal of Medicine, middle-class families are collapsing under the strain of “a health care system that treats physical wounds, but often inflicts fiscal ones”.

The study, (http://pnhp.org/new_bankruptcy_study/Bankruptcy-2009.pdf) claims that 62.1% of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were due to medical problems, including high medical bills or loss of income because of illness.  This is a 49.6% increase from 2001.  Less than one quarter of the debtors studied were uninsured when they filed for bankruptcy.  Many found themselves under-insured and responsible for thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.  Others had private coverage but lost it when they became too sick to work.

Only in America!  Medical impoverishment, according to the study, is virtually unheard of in wealthy countries other than the U.S.  Most other countries have stronger safety nets, and all have some form of national health insurance.

 

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Peter Orville is a bankruptcy lawyer in Binghamton, located in the Southern Tier of New York. He is a member and New York co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
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