62.1% of All Bankruptcies in 2007 Tied To Medical Bills

Discussion in 'Politics' started by KenH, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. KenH

    KenH
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    From The American Journal of Medicine:

    "Using a conservative definition, 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92% of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5000, or 10% of pretax family income. The rest met criteria for medical bankruptcy because they had lost significant income due to illness or mortgaged a home to pay medical bills. Most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations. Three quarters had health insurance. Using identical definitions in 2001 and 2007, the share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 49.6%. In logistic regression analysis controlling for demographic factors, the odds that a bankruptcy had a medical cause was 2.38-fold higher in 2007 than in 2001."

    - rest at www.pnhp.org/new_bankruptcy_study/Bankruptcy-2009.pdf
     
    #1 KenH, Mar 13, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  2. KenH

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    "Are we all just one medical problem away from bankrupcy?

    As a Board Certified Consumer Bankrupcy Attorney, I speak with many people about filing for bankruptcy and their debts. Medical Bill bankruptcies are a very real and growing problem. Don't get me wrong, this is not a new phenomena that suddenly came to rise like the epidemic or pandemic known as swine flu. People have always had to deal with medical bills when either they or a loved one became sick or were injured. However, it seems that over the last few years, medical bill bankruptcies have been on the rise.

    ...

    If we can learn one thing from medical bankruptcies, it should be that the health care system is broken, and it needs to be fixed. I don't know how to fix the problem, but I wish I could. I can only see how it changes people's lives forever."

    - rest at www.floridabankruptcylawyerblog.com/2009/06/medical_bill_bankruptcy_an_epi.html
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    What does that mean "tied to". Is there an assumption that because medical bills are included in bankruptcy that they were the cause or primary motivation?
     
  4. rbell

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    That's why a while back, I purchased disability insurance.

    And I will admit: If I were diagnosed with an incurable, expensive-to-treat illness...money would factor in. I wouldn't ruin my family financially to buy a few months of life.

    I'm currently in need of spinal fusion surgery due to a back condition. But until I save up enough money to help offset the out-of-pocket costs, I'm putting it off. Sure, it will still cost me money...but I'm going to be as ready as I can to offset the costs that go with a major surgery.

    I might not be able to head off all financial issues...but I can head off some of them.
     
  5. billwald

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    Maybe 90% of everyone is afraid of dying until the physical or mental pain becomes intolerable. The other 10% are either true saints and/or insane.
     
  6. NiteShift

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    The author of this cited study is Dr. David Himmelstein. He is founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization that advocates for a single-payer national health program. This is no unbiased study.

    His data was examined by David Dranove and Michael Millenson in Health Affairs, and they conclude that the actual number of medical bankrupties are a factor in just 17 percent of personal bankruptcies, not the 62% that Himmelstein asserts. LINK
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    A factor not the single driving factor as is being presented by proponents of the single payer system.
     
  8. NiteShift

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    Yes, and as others have pointed out, the bankruptcy rate in Canada is about the same as ours, even though they have single payer national health care.
     
  9. KenH

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    Even if it is "just" 17% that should be 17% for any Christian to just shrug his shoulders and say "Oh well" let's do nothing.

    Also, there are multiple authors of the study. It was not a solo project. Regardless, facts are facts. One cannot rationally dismiss a fact because one disagrees with the author's point of view.

    Also, the link that NiteShift provided went to a summation, not an article with any facts to back up NiteShift's point.

    Also, I am not advocating a single payer system so even if Canada has as high of a medical bill-caused bankruptcy rate as the United States that is irrelevant to this thread.
     
  10. Dragoon68

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    It seems a bit strong to suggest bankruptcy is necessary at a threshold of $5,000 or 10% of pretax family income! I've got a hunch there's a lot more involved than what this "study" suggests! It makes no mention of the particulars - the willingness of the parties to work out a solution or the other factors that were involved. The percentage seems extremely high compared to other probable causes such as plain old irresponsible spending.

    But, regardless, just because there may be a problem - even a sudden expensive medical problem - does not mean the federal government needs to solve it for a few at the expense of everyone else. It's certainly not a justification for the pending health care legislation.

    Bankruptcy is a legal process that provides an court monitored orderly resolution of a bad situation. It gives both sides some protection. It, in itself, is the solution in place for the problem. It can and does work. Many businesses and individuals have gone through it and recovered from it. So we're not "doing nothing" - we have a process in place already to deal with this!

    Avoiding the problem is the responsibility of each of us and that includes the considering and dealing with the risk of very large unexpected bills or losses or law suites or whatever. There is no risk free life and no guarantee hardship will not visit any of us. If it happens we have to deal with it, seek a resolution, and pick up the pieces and move on.

    We shouldn't go crying to Washington to bail us out. But, alas, they have set the precedence by bailing out major corporations that should have been permitted to fail.

    No one owes us a helping hand but, fortunately, there are many who will help others with a second chance. That's best handled in the community by people who know the circumstances and can monitor what's done with their help.
     
    #10 Dragoon68, Mar 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2010
  11. targus

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    What is your point with this thread?

    What solution are you proposing?
     
  12. targus

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    Not this bogus "study" again!

    No one files bankruptcy because they have $5,000 in medical debt. The $5,000 in debt would just be a small part of their total debt in filing bankrutcy.

    No health insurance plan is going to replace income due to illness. If you get sick and can't work your money problems are due to not working. No health insurance is going to provide an income when you are sick. So those don't belong in this study.

    This "study" says and proves nothing.
     
  13. rbell

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    What does that have to do with medical expenses?
     
    #13 rbell, Mar 14, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  14. Spear

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    I'm not sure i understood correctly what you meant ... do you mean those who go to bankrupcy because of medical needs shouldn't be taken in charge by the other, that's it ?

    About the 5000 $ bills ... I understand it could be due from personal finances for someone willing a bigger breast with implants, or liposuccion because they're too big ... for " comfort " surgery.

    But someone who NEEDS surgery shouldn't have to give so much money for surgery.
     
  15. Dragoon68

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    The sentence you quoted meant that regardless of the particular merits of a particular case the federal government shouldn't be involved in providing medical care or medical insurance for the general population. These matters can and should be handled locally by charity hospitals and maybe local governments if people are willing to do that with their money.

    Surgery is expensive because the people, equipment, facilities, and medication involved is expensive. There's no reason we should think that because it's "medical" it should be affordable by everyone. Some people will always be able to afford more than others. Some people have to do without some things they can't afford. No one owes anyone else medical care. Our thinking has been altered in these days to believe that it is yet another entitlement.

    The Obamanites have most everyone thinking it's a requirement, all that's left is to figure out how to do it, and anyone who objects is somehow not concerned about health care for others. We are concerned but we don't need the federal government to provide it or tell us how to provide. They'll waste ten times more of our money than they could ever put to good use. Let us handle it locally. No one is going to be left dying on the street corner because they can't pay the doctor.

    But, with respect to emergency medical care, we already have a system that forbids anyone from being denied services even if they can't or don't pay. Unfortunately it is routinely abused by illegal residents and other persons seeking routine or minor care under the guise of an emergency. That's the problem with all entitlement program.
     
  16. Spear

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    Thanks for the explanation :)

    I think there are things that are hard to debate, because they are so basic you have to make a choice " at the beginning ".

    My choice is " Medical care is due to anyone, and everyone pays depending on his income, a tax ". I'm never sick, but who knows what it will be in 20 years ? Then, i guess i'll need more medical care than what i'll pay for. Now, i'm happy to pay for those who need it, thinking i'm lucky for now not to need it.

    It's exactly the same for our pensions once we retire : the active workers pay for their elders who retired (by tax).

    That's a society choice.
     
  17. Dragoon68

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    Pensions are paid for by the people who work to earn them and become vested in the benefit. They are not a "gift" provided by future workers and they are not funded with taxes unless it's a government pension! It is your money! Depending upon the plan it may be collected as an annuity or as a lump sum.

    Social security, on the other hand, is a scam from the start because you never actually own any of the amounts you put into the program. You can't leave it to your estate. The amount you will receive is not really related to the amount you pay. It is a tax and it will very likely be a "benefit" funded by future workers.
     
  18. Robert Snow

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    You may consider it a scam, but it has helped a lot of people and kept many from having to live on the street.

    My father was disabled when I was eight years old. My mother worked, but without Social Security we would have had real problems.
     
  19. MrJim

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    ..anyhow I just got my notice from my insurance company that the blood tests I got a couple weeks ago totaled over $700 ~ I'll be having a chat with the doc next month about what sort of tests he orders next time:tonofbricks:
     
  20. Salty

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    But that was not the orginal intent of Social Security.
    The govt over the years has just kept adding benfits to the program.

    I am sorry about your dad, but I had a sister-in-law abuse the SS system, after my brother died.
     

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