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Over 60 percent of all US bankruptcies attributable to medical problems
Date:6/4/2009

hose with VA/military coverage. For patients who initially had private coverage but lost it, the family's out-of-pocket expenses averaged $22,568.

Because almost all insurance is linked to employment, a medical event can trigger loss of coverage. Nationally, a quarter of firms cancel coverage immediately when an employee suffers a disabling illness; another quarter does so within a year. Income loss due to illness was also common, but nearly always coupled with high medical bills.

Writing in the article, David U. Himmelstein, M.D., states, "The US health care financing system is broken, and not only for the poor and uninsured. Middle class families frequently collapse under the strain of a health care system that treats physical wounds, but often inflicts fiscal ones."

"This study provides further evidence that the US health care system is broken," according to James E. Dalen, M.D., M.P.H., University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson. "Medical bankruptcy is almost a unique American phenomenon, which does not occur in countries that have national health insurance. These long-time advocates of a single payer system give us another compelling reason to work toward this goal as a nation."


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Contact: Pamela Poppalardo
ajmmedia@elsevier.com
212-633-3944
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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