Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sick to debt

Instead of being sick to death many Americans are sick to debt. They are in so much debt that they have declared bankruptcy. To me this is obscene that people, in some cases, though no fault of their own have become sick to debt or so ill that their physical illness leads to the ultimate financial illness - bankruptcy. A study in the American Journal of Medicine found that in 2007 62.1% of Americans who filed for bankruptcy did so because of medical bills, over $5000.

Most of these people were in middle class jobs, owned their homes, were well educated and actually had health insurance. These aren't the kind of people one thinks of as getting in financial trouble due to medical bills. I mean most had health insurance. There clearly is something wrong with the system when someone with health insurance has to declare bankruptcy. I think most would have figured that the people in this financial bind were the so-called working poor. You know 3-4 part time jobs with no health insurance. Either way this is obscene. I know that some will say that it's not my problem but it is. The money that can't be paid back is absorbed by the overall economy. Thus each of us pays for this.

There ought to be a better way!


David U. Himmelstein, Deborah Thorne, Elizabeth Warren, Steffie Woolhandler, Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study, The American Journal of Medicine, In Press,

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