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46% of U.S. personal bankruptcies sparked by medical bills

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posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 12:38 AM
According to a recent study by Harvard University, almost half of the personal bankruptcies in the US can be attributed to medical bills.

The study, published Wednesday in the online journal Health Affairs, looked at 1,771 people who had declared personal bankruptcy to seek court protection from creditors in five American states in 2001.

Researchers from Harvard's law and medical schools later talked to 931 of them. They determined that illness or medical bills were either the main cause or a contributing factor in 46.2 per cent of the bankruptcies.


All I can say is wow. I sure hope they got that wrong, because that's pretty sad.

posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 01:33 AM
do you reckon that America would take up a national health service?
that would solve that problem. Despite the figures above, i dont think they would in a hurry. if they looked over at the UK's NHS, it would make them run a mile.

posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 01:39 AM
I have no trouble believing that statistic based on personal experience. I came this close >.< to fiscal collapse because of medical bills. If not for a switch of insurance companies by my employer -and having the most understanding and generous employer imaginable to start with- doctors would own me. My family helped as much as they could, but it was rough.

Getting a pro to help with insurance filings, billing, etc. more than paid for itself, too.

posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 01:49 AM

Originally posted by Spectre
Getting a pro to help with insurance filings, billing, etc. more than paid for itself, too.

One of the benefits of a national healthcare program is that the govt is billed directly in most cases. I think if someone is seriously ill, the last thing they need is more stress from worrying about bills.

If your so incapacitated that you can't work, and then have to pay medical bills on top of that, it may make financial sense for people to claim bankruptcy, I guess.

edit spelling

[edit on 3-2-2005 by Duzey]

posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 03:29 AM
what is the big cost of medical bills? instead of nationalizing service and guaranteeing less efficency and no reason for the provider to lower prices/costs, why not address the facts of what are cosing the high costs.

Probably Drug providers spending RnD money on advertising and FDA regulations imposed against importing drugs. I mean for some reason early in the 20th century we had the exact opposite problem of doctors not getting paid enough.

posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 11:41 AM

Originally posted by NuTroll
instead of nationalizing service and guaranteeing less efficency and no reason for the provider to lower prices/costs, why not address the facts of what are cosing the high costs.

Actually, our national healthcare system does lower some costs, by negotiating bulk discounts for medications, and setting price schedules medical professionals must follow.

I think a common misconception many Americans have is that that the Canadian government forced this program on Canadians. They did not, it was a grass roots movement by the people, and our government responded to our demands.

Medicare in Canada was not created by doctors. Nor was it invented by politicans.

Rather, it was started by ordinary Canadians – people who felt that a better health care system was needed to improve life for their families and communities, and who went out and did it.

Canadian Health Coalition

posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 08:26 PM
Duzey- I think Tommy Douglas takes some of the credit for bringing the issue of national healthcare to Parliament.

I voted for him!

posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 08:47 PM
Don't over-hype Canada's national healthcare system, cause it has some serious inherent flaws.

What Canada has that is unique is not a "one-tier" health system as they pretend. It's not even that Canada has a "universal access" system. Twenty-eight countries have universal access systems. Of those 28 countries, Canada is the highest age-adjusted spender on health care. Canada also manages to rank near the bottom in terms of access to technology and physicians, while Canadian patients wait longer than patients in most other countries. Canada places near the middle or bottom in health outcomes in most other health-outcome categories as well. That's what's unique. Oh, yay, being Canadian... err Liberal... is uniquely embarrassing.


Although American health care is, despite its problems, among the best medicine available in the world, there are 28 universal access countries to take a peek at in changing (fixing) the Canadian system, and that's what most actual thinkers and conservative politicians are in fact doing.

Canadian Healthcare Status Quo: Vital to Liberal Power

Statistics Canada's recent report on census information has got Canadians thinking about the impacts of its aging population, and rightly so. Canada's population is undergoing an age transformation that will have profound consequences on individuals, communities and the nation as a whole. Canadians aged 65 and over currently represent 13% of the population. In 25 years, that number will increase to 21%. Can Canada's healthcare system handle the needs of our aging population in the future without bankrupting taxpayers?

Can Canada's healthcare sustain the age transformation?

Health care: a system under strain

In those countires that have a national healthcare system, they are having serious financial problems in most. France is prime example.

IMHO, I hope the US never adopts a national healthcare system, and I am dern glad that they busted up Bill and Hillary Clinton's attempts at instituting one.

A 'limited' form should be considered and/or adopted for those in need of it, mainly for children whohave no such healthcare type coverage.


[edit on 3-2-2005 by Seekerof]

posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 09:01 PM
Seekerof - nothing is perfect, but I say a flawed system is better than none at all. Personally, neither I nor anyone I know has ever had to wait or not gotten the service or treatment they needed.

Of course there is always room for improvement, but I'm happy to have it.

Its part of what makes us different I suppose. That's okay too.

posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 09:28 PM

Originally posted by AlwaysLearning
I voted for him!

Holy cow! That was *ahem* quite a while ago. He does deserve the credit for taking it to a national level. I guess that why he's the Greatest Canadian. But the people of Saskatchewan deserve credit for bringing it to life.


I will readily admit our system isn't perfect. And it is true, if you have money you can jump the queue and go to a private clinic. Personally, I believe we should allow more private clinics. I have no problem with the people who can afford to pay doing so, and it frees up space for those who can't.

I feel that the people who are opposing private investment into our healthcare system are blind idealogues. As long as there is still the same access for those of us who choose to use the national system and we receive the same level of treatment we currently do, there's no problem. Really, how is having more medical equipment and facilities going to spell the end of our program? It is merely an evolution it must go through to survive.

There have been several fact-finding trips to other countries to see what we can learn from them, because we know it needs fixing. Everyone in Canada knows we need to address the aging population, and we are in the process of making changes. I'm sure there will be many of them to the system, so it can maintain financial viability.

I look at it this way, if I have the choice between a system that helps people in need with some waste and mis-management, and having people get no help at all, I will always choose the former. That is where my priorities lie.

By the way, The Fraser Institute, whose report is cited in your first link, is a privately funded right-wing think tank, and are not taken seriously by most people here, except Western Separatists and those like Joel Johannesen. It would be comparable to me citing a study funded by anti-poverty groups on tax cuts for the wealthy. Not even remotely objective.

Your country puts your money into the military, mine puts ours into healthcare..... Our two countries just have very different priorities. That doesn't make either of us wrong, just of different opinions.

edit spelling

[edit on 3-2-2005 by Duzey]

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 01:28 AM
Hospitals & insurance companies are big business in the USA and we can't have the investors not living in their multimillion dollar homes & eating prime cut steak & lobster along with their $300 bottles of wine on the weekend. Most Doctors are underpaid for what they do, but insurance companies overpay themselves for their skills & they have too much power given to them by our government, of course American Banks are run by the same crooks. Not to forget the lawyers and our corrupt system of law that drives the rates up as well.

[edit on 4-2-2005 by outsider]

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 01:40 AM
I'm glad I have a job with decent medical coverage. Otherwise, I would be in big DOo Doo.

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 02:50 AM
after being on and seeing government paid services like medicaid, i fear a national healthcare system would destroy health care in poor states and anyways our country isnt run like any other countries where they can force nationwide laws and such, most states would protest it if the government had to cut their federal funding to support such a system in say california.

you canadians may like national centralised government programs but you dont realise how long it can be maintained before collapsing, look at our medicaid, its been around longer than national health in other western countries and it has been falling apart for almost 20 years, only getting worse, and it doesnt even support half our population, and the national care systems in most western nations are already seeing the effects our system started seeng in half the time it took to effect us, i bet in 10 or 15 years your system will be on the brink of collapse just like our medicaid, guess people wont learn from our attempt at that very system, not even clinton could fix the system.

i mean in some states its so bad many are cutting cost so bad they resort tto 1970's sling wheelchairs instead of new ones which most need, i m disabled but after i turned 21 most of my medicaid was cut as per policy because the government iis so cheap because not enough money to spread around, really its clear government health care is a bad idea, very bad, our deficit would be horrible even if we cut our military budget to under 100 billion dollars so dont use the military argument whoever is thinking that.

our budget isnt big enough for 300 million people anyways.

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 11:03 AM

You raise some good questions and points. I don't have time to address it fully here, I have to do something at work to justify my employment, besides gracing them with my sparkling wit and charm. I would like to respond though, and will do so later.

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 06:39 PM

Originally posted by Duzey
I have to do something at work to justify my employment, besides gracing them with my sparkling wit and charm.

Hell no! I think they should give you a big fat raise because you are so sparkly, whitty and charming. Tell your boss to call me, I give him what-for!

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 07:05 PM
National healthcare isn't perfect, nor will it never be. But at least it is there for the people to have some level of decent healthcare and I feel it to be superior to the American system, which is rated to be one of the worst in the western world. Healthcare is a basic human right and it should be kept.

Have a look at this study to shed some light on this :

Part I

Myth VS Reality : US Healthcare

Part II

Myth VS Reality : Prescriptions

The US healthcare system is the joke of the western world.

In my country there are a few things going on : the states take care of their own healthcare systems, we have a great health system but we have the problems the west does (overcrowding is no.1, i don't think we have any problem with our system going bankrupt) however we also are offered private medical care and the government pays for 30% of it (though i don't know how longer they are going to do it for) and the bonus is that you get no waiting times in private hospitals. Also there are a few hospitals that are run by private institutions and the state pays them every year to also supply healthcare to the people. I feel the way we are going is good, because those who can't afford it are still able to have high quality healthcare while those who wish to can opt for subsidised private healthcare.

[edit on 4-2-2005 by drfunk]

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 07:23 PM
Well bottom line is that something is better than nothing and as today in US we have many people specially children with not medical care.

Now for such a civilized country as our that is a shame, and around my street I know of about 3 families that had to claim bankruptcy due to families illnesses.

I had two major surgeries in a spam of lest than two years, price tag, about 70 thousand dollars, thanks to my insurance I only pay lest than a thousand of the cost.

No everybody can foresee the future and plan for an illness over night. Health care is very costly in our country for the ones that can afford it, that is why we have so many people that rather pray for health than pay for insurance.

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 07:30 PM

Originally posted by Seekerof

In those countires that have a national healthcare system, they are having serious financial problems in most. France is prime example.

IMHO, I hope the US never adopts a national healthcare system,

I agree - once people are too old or sick to work and they've gone bankrupt too - they should just recognize they're an unnecessary burden. Good thing mercy killing will be legalized soon.

sarcastic. bitter.

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 07:53 PM
I had to put this in
this quote always made me laugh

"Homer: Don't worry, Marge. America's health care system is second only
to Japan, Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, well, all of Europe, but
you can thank your lucky stars we don't live in Paraguay!"

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 08:18 PM

Originally posted by AlwaysLearning
Tell your boss to call me, I give him what-for!

What time would you like the conference call set up for, sir?

Actually, my job is awsome and leaves me plenty of time for ATS
They're fully aware of the fact they're lucky to have me and couldn't survive without me, and they treat me accordingly. In other words, I'm worshipped as the Goddess that I am.

I do write the paychecks, after all. No one ever said engineers weren't smart.
I just didn't have time to get in depth on the topic at the time, but I'm working on something now trying to dispell some of the myths of universal healthcare. It's not perfect, but it's not as bad as it is made out to be.

I'm curious, did you vote for for Douglas provincially or federally? Oh, and on behalf of us that weren't around then, thank you very much.

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