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Medical debt and the credit crisis

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posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 10:43 AM

The connection between medical debt and the current credit crisis isn't a direct line, but it's strong enough to prompt Mike Leavitt, head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to declare at a recent news conference, "If we had any idea how many mortgages were foreclosed because people were crowded out by medical issues . . . Health-care costs are at the heart of many of the things happening."


I just saw this on Yahoo! News this morning. The article's not that great, but it is an interesting point that I hadn't considered.

Medical expenses are out of control, and adequate health insurance is difficult or impossible to afford for millions of Americans. No doubt it's an overstatement to say that "health-care costs are at the heart of many of the things happening," but perhaps they have made a significant contribution.

Is it possible that it's not just Americans' materialistic culture and irresponsibility with credit that got so many people in the hole?

What do you think?

[edit on 10/28/08 by americandingbat]

posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 11:25 AM
I think it's about time this came out into the open...

Most people simply do not get into serious trouble intentionally. While too many do indeed live on credit way too much, there is usually a trigger of some kind that launches them into bankruptcy or default. This trigger can be any number of things: divorce, job loss, family expenses (like a distant funeral one has to attend), or yes, unexpected medical bills.

I personally know one poor soul who was at one time on top of the world. He owned a nice little place back in the country and was making pretty good money. He still makes good money, but now most of it goes to pay for medical bills for his wife (and yes, she was insured, just not enough) and to try and save his daughter from bankruptcy by not allowing her car to be repossessed. In order to cover these expenses, he went for the only route available to him to get the money needed: he took on a huge mortgage. Now he scrapes by, struggling every month with that house payment, at the mercy of the collapsing housing market.

Medical science is no longer about healing; it is about profit. Now I don't begrudge someone who has gone through the rigors of 4 years of pre-med, 4 years of med school, internship, and licensing/insurance requirements (not to mention overhead costs of a doctor's office) from making a huge income. They took the long hard road and should be rewarded for their investment in knowledge. But their job is not to treat, but to heal. And every elderly person I know, along with a large percentage of the adults I know, who have seen a doctor in the last few years are now on a schedule of regular visits to several specialists and are taking several pills per day. They were fine before they entered that doctor's office. No one can make me believe this is necessary to maintain health. If it were, we would have died off and become extinct many many years earlier before the inventions of modern medicine.

Drugs are regularly prescribed with almost no thought behind them. I am sure I could go to any doctor around and ask to be placed on any of a number of drugs and be granted the prescription. Ritalin has become a substitute for discipline in schools, regardless of the reports that its (ab)use typically leads to more disruptive behavior later on (which usually means the patient (victim?) has to have more sedative medications on a regular basis to remain free in society). Chantix, a new 'wonder drug' used to stop smoking, is now becoming recognized as having frequent side effects, including dementia, hallucinations, and loss of ability to concentrate. The reason it came under close scrutiny? It was given to truck drivers with no mention of these side effects!

All of these drugs have one thing in common: they cost a lot of money and must be taken continuously. I have even seen drug commercials on TV where it was stated that stopping a medication for heart disease caused heart attacks! So the patient (victim?) is now locked into a never-ending payment to remain alive that will compete with other expenses or savings. We all, save for those precious few individuals who usually have the title 'CEO', have a limit on our potential income. That means every dime spent on one thing takes away from something else.

What happens then when someone has burdened themselves with a nice house, fine car, and the luxuries of modern life, all complete with the monthly payment for it, in the great American spirit of capitalism and materialism that we are told by the MSM is our due on life, and we are then advised by a doctor, someone who is supposed to be interested in saving the most precious thing we have (our very lives), that we must either accept a new major cost into our budget or die? We accept that payment, out of fear of death. We wind up suffering for the rest of our lives financially, and more often than not end up destitute and a statistic in the repossession/bankruptcy records.

In my opinion, there is nothing more despicable than someone who threatens death in order to make a profit. Where is the difference between threatening someone with their death to gain money from the sale of a drug, or threatening them with the same outcome at the point of a gun if they don't cough up the money in the cash register? The former is legal. I can see no other difference.

It's one thing to make a profit on a drug that satisfies a need. It's another thing totally to make a profit from a drug where the need is fabricated through deceitful practices or through pure unadulterated fraud by a trusted professional. The first is an example of the American Dream; the second is theft. If the same percentage of the population who are subjected to this legal theft were held up with a gun every month, there would be no need to uncover this story. It would be the headline in every newspaper and TV news show in the country.


posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 11:32 AM
reply to post by TheRedneck

You hit it on the head....

Lobbyists are lined up trying to get their drugs or technology approved. Once approved they make deals with doctors to pedal their goods for a slice of the pie. Kinda no different than your neighborhood drug dealers. Add to this all the unnecessary testing and treatment that is undertaken on a patient. Just another big scam to get every penny they can. Sad thing is that it has been going on for a very long time and our politicians knew this fact and chose to turn a blind eye.


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