Medical debt is a big problem in the United States. For years, it’s been the No. 1 reason people file for bankruptcy — even though the more common assumption is that those struggling financially have been overspending in other areas of their life.
Do you believe that? Do you accept that 65% of all bankruptcies are the result of medical bills? You shouldn’t‼️
The problem with reports like this is they are based on surveys and interviews. Health care spending will always be at the top of the list of unaffordable spending. When you can say the cause of your financial worries are health care bills, you are unlikely to admit other spending contributes to your problems.
No doubt medical bills are a burden for many people, especially the uninsured and in some cases working Americans with high deductible health plans, but health care bills are rarely considered as part of total spending; the family budget.
In 2009, there were 1.4 million bankruptcies. Obama based his calculation on a 2009 Harvard study coauthored by his assistant, Elizabeth Warren. It said 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies were because of medical bills. The researchers interviewed those who filed for bankruptcy between January and April 2007. It expanded medical causes to include:
Those who mortgaged a home to pay medical bills.
Those who had medical bills greater than $1,000.
People who lost at least two weeks of work due to illness.
Several scientists criticized the researchers for being too broad in including those last two reasons.