Submitted by a reader
Just one serious illness away from bankruptcy
The banks don’t take every everything; it’s the pharmaceuticals, “health providers,” and doctors that shake our pockets empty!
This is 21st Century America, where you can have your money OR your “health.” Medical bills are responsible for 62 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, U.S. researchers said today. That is an increase of about 50 percent in just over 5 years.
“More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.” Reuters said.
“Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income,” the researchers wrote.
“Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations.”
The share of bankruptcies caused by medical bills rose by 50 percent between 2001 and 2007, researchers said.
“Unless you’re Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” Harvard’s Dr. David Himmelstein, an advocate for a single-payer health insurance program for the United States, said.
“For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection,” he added.
“Nationally, a quarter of firms cancel coverage immediately when an employee suffers a disabling illness; another quarter do so within a year,” the report said.
Some 2,134 families, who filed for bankruptcy, were surveyed between January and April in 2007, well before the latest recession began.
“While only 29 percent directly blamed medical bills for their bankruptcy, 62 percent had medical bills that totaled more than 10 percent of family income, said an illness was responsible, had lost income due to illness or some other medical factor.” Reuters said.
“Among common diagnoses, nonstroke neurologic illnesses such as multiple sclerosis were associated with the highest out-of-pocket expenditures (mean $34,167), followed by diabetes ($26,971), injuries ($25,096), stroke ($23,380), mental illnesses ($23,178), and heart disease ($21,955),” the researchers reported.