Wednesday :: Feb 2, 2005

So How's Your Health Insurance?

by Mary

One of the rightwing's pet issues is making sure debtors cannot escape their responsibilities by declaring bankruptcy. According to them too many Americans are prolifigate and spend beyond their means. And one thing that would make America a better place is to make it harder for debtors to default on their debts. Therefore, a bankruptcy bill has been introduced in every session of Congress for the past 8 years and the credit industry is sure they can get it passed this time.

It's very easy to blame the overconsuming American for this crisis, but it would be wrong to do so. According to a new study, almost half the personal bankruptcies are caused by medical problems. And many people trapped by this dilemma are people who had health insurance but then lost it after falling ill or suffering an injury and losing their job from the extended illness or injury.

Most of those who sought bankruptcy for medical reasons were middle-class homeowners who had health insurance when their health problems began, researchers found.

The study, which its authors said was the first to examine specific medical reasons for bankruptcy, was published in the health policy journal Health Affairs. Conducted by investigators from Harvard University's law and medical schools and Ohio University, the study examined filings from 2001 in five federal bankruptcy courts, including the Central District of California, and interviewed those who cited medical reasons as the main cause of their bankruptcy filing.

Those cases involved injury or illness, uncovered medical bills of more than $1,000 in the two years before filing, loss of at least two weeks of work because of illness or injury, or mortgaging a home to pay medical bills.

"These are hard-working, 'play by the rules' people who have health insurance and have discovered that they were just one bad diagnosis away from financial catastrophe," Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School and one of the study's authors, said in an interview Tuesday. "I think that's the real heart of the story. This is about people who thought they were all safe."

So, this is the state of our country today. A place where if you are lucky enough to not get ill or injured, you can have the peace of mind that health insurance and a steady job can bring. However, if you get sick with something like cancer, well, gee, that's too bad because the roll of the die cost you your job and your health insurance. Once again, we see that we live in a country where individuals bear the risks of economic uncertainly and corporations are coddled with government largess.

Mary :: 12:24 AM :: Comments (21) :: Digg It!