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health-insurance

Colour me surprised. Not.

WASHINGTON – Medical bills are involved in more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, an increase of 50 percent in just six years, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.

“Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income,” the researchers wrote.

“Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations.”

The researchers, whose work was paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the share of bankruptcies that could be blamed on medical problems rose by 50 percent from 2001 to 2007.

“Unless you’re Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” Harvard’s Dr. David Himmelstein, an advocate for a single-payer health insurance program for the United States, said in a statement.

“For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection,” he added.

Remember my call for universal healthcare? When I read stats like these, I’m really not convinced that the current healthcare system in the US can be sustained for much longer.

I still maintain that the people who are against universal healthcare, are the ones who have adequate health insurance.

Can you imagine having to file bankruptcy because you were unfortunate enough to get cancer? Talk about a double whammy.