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Demographics of Medical Bankruptcy

Editor’s note: This was some interesting data. Perhaps the readers can make some additional sense out of this. It seems to say that high costs cause bankruptcies. (Okay) Not knowing what the national averages are for the categories mentioned, leaves one to decide whether medical bankruptcies occur more often to people who attend college (if the average % of the population attending college is say 50%). Likewise what percent of the population owns a home. I suspect that what they are trying to say is that even the educated, home owning, more affluent people at risk of bankruptcy. As I have said before, doesn’t that tell you that the costs of health care are too high? Forget about whether insurance pays the bill or not… the base cost of healthcare in this country exceeds the cost that the market can afford to pay for it. A true market regulates the costs of the products and services. However, when so much of the costs are paid for by a central payer (the government, employers, insurance companies, etc.) and the consumer is insulated from the real costs and the effect of those costs are felt a year or more down the road a true market cannot operate efficiently. 

Now imagine with me if we have a single payer system and people (consumers) are further insulated.

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 According to a new study published in the American Journal of Medicine, 60.3% of medical bankruptcies had attended college, 66.4% had owned a home and 20% included a military veteran or active duty soldier.

While many of the demographics are very similar, there are a few notable differences in the demographics of those experiencing medical bankruptcies vs. non-medical bankruptcies: Employment (75.5% medical vs. 85.0% non medical); market value of home ($141k vs. $159k); and a lapse in health coverage occurring sometime in the two years before bankruptcy (40% medical vs. 34% non medical).

Source: “Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study.” David U. Himmelstein, Deborah Thorne, Elizabeth Warren, Steffie Woolhandler. The American Journal of Medicine – 05 June 2009. http://pnhp.org/new_bankruptcy_study/Bankruptcy-2009.pdf

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June 8, 2009 - Posted by | Cost, Economics of Health care, Federal Government | , , , ,

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