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Top 10 Reasons People Go Bankrupt - #1: Medical Expenses

Original post made by Pleasanton Mom for Truth, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010

A study done at Harvard University indicates that this is the biggest cause of bankruptcy, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies. One of the interesting caveats of this study shows that 78% of filers had some form of health insurance, thus bucking the myth that medical bills affect only the uninsured.

Rare or serious diseases or injuries can easily result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills - bills that can quickly wipe out savings and retirement accounts, college education funds and home equity. Once these have been exhausted, bankruptcy may be the only shelter left, regardless of whether the patient or his or her family was able to apply health coverage to a portion of the bill or not

Web Link

Comments (38)

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Posted by Pleasanton Mom for Truth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 7:24 am

Sorry, I meant to say "Top 5 Reasons." Too much Letterman? :)


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2010 at 8:10 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Old news: Web Link

"Between 2001 and 2007, the proportion of all bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by about 50 percent. "

The problem of the under-insured: Web Link

"By one estimate, 25 million Americans can't afford to cover the gap between what their insurance covers and their medical bills demand. "

How's that free market health insurance working out for you?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2010 at 8:12 am

Stacey is a registered user.

More on the underinsured: Web Link

But keep on wanting the freedom to choose inadequate health insurance so that the rest of American is forced to pay for your poor choices!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2010 at 8:14 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"While the uninsured are most at risk, researchers estimate
that about a fifth of insured individuals are underinsured and
face limits on coverage or substantial financial costs if faced
with an illness. Given the recent increase in health care
costs, it is likely that this problem will escalate in coming
years. With a growing body of evidence showing that many
insured individuals still have problems accessing health
care and experience long-term financial and health
consequences, these issues are gaining prominence on the
national policy agenda."

(From 2002)


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Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:01 am

Janna is a registered user.

Unfortunately, PMFT, you-know-who will never relate to this until it happens to them. And of course they can't imagine it happening to them because they have somehow been chosen in life to not have hard times.

When life gets hard, you find out real fast what you're made of. I can attest to that. Anything is possible.


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Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:25 am

Right, and like Janna, lots of those people first bought a house they couldn't afford, bought cars they couldn't afford, put their kids in schools they couldn't afford, etc, etc, and then when they had serious medical bills, they couldn't afford them.
So the question I want answered from those people, when you went through the bankruptcy process, what happened to those medical bills? Nevermind, I know the answer, the bills go away.
And in that bankruptcy, are your retirement funds, your home, or your car you are still making payments on taken away? No, they are not. Bankruptcy is not pretty by any means, but it doesn't leave people living in a van down by the river.

Myth after myth is being foisted upon the American people to try and convince them that the government should control health care. The legislators still have that little kid in DC for their press events. It is like political pedophilia over there. Sickening.


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Posted by Pleasanton Mom
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:37 am

The misfortunes of people were used for this one purpose:

Audio: Democrat Rep. Dingell Says ObamaCare Will Eventually 'Control the People'

Web Link

Some years ago during a two year period, my husband and I paid out over $20,000 in out of pocket medical expenses. I never blamed anyone or expected anyone (espcially not the government) to do anything about it. It was no ones fault. Sh$t happens. We dealt with it. Full indemnification (with other people's money) for our misforture was never our expectation. It never occured to us. We accepted the hand we were dealt, and struggled to overcome it.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:39 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Glad that you got better. Not everyone can.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:39 am

Stacey is a registered user.

But I know, if everyone lived exactly like you, there would be no need for any of this.


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Posted by anti-stupid brigade
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:41 am

Jim, just when we think you've reached the heights of stupidity, you climb a new summit. You're basically saying that a rational response to exorbitant healthcare costs is to just declare bankruptcy and have those bills wiped out. Fine...let's have all 48 million uninsured do that...brilliant. You're a moron.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:46 am

Stacey is a registered user.

jimf01 "Nevermind, I know the answer, the bills go away. "

And therein lies the hypocrisy. Because the bills don't really go away, don't become "free". The cost is passed on to everyone else!


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Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:47 am

But of course instead of reading the article or maybe even drilling down to the actual study Web Link

and understanding the issue of medical bankruptcy, you distort my statement, claiming I said something I didn't say, and call me a moron. Nice red herring. You are consistent, if nothing else.


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Posted by Pleasanton Mom for Truth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:50 am

Not only the uninsured, but the underinsured:
"One of the interesting caveats of this study shows that 78% of filers had some form of health insurance, thus bucking the myth that medical bills affect only the uninsured."
Jim, the article is just about the top 5 reasons for bankruptcy. It's not a Democratic TPM. It's reality, not a myth.
Also, you should really lay off Janna. She didn't just buy a bunch of stuff she couldn't afford, she lost her fricking job. Any one of us out of work long enough, and all basic living expenses become unaffordable. Show some class. The conservative crew on this board love to make her their punching bag and change her story to fit their liberal slacker model, but instead just come off looking like a bunch of jerks.



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Posted by anti-stupid brigade
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:56 am

jim,
How did i distort your statement? You basically lay claim that bankruptcy isn't all that bad because they can't take your home, car, retirement accounts, etc, so while it's not "pretty by any means...it doesn't leave people living in a van down by the river." How else are we supposed to read this? You're basically saying, don't have insurance? incur a medical condition that saps you dry and leaves you with hundreds in thousands of medical bills? no problem, just declare bankruptcy...it's not like they can take your house, car, retirement away....exactly how else should we read that?

As for you being a moron, that is anything but a red herring. Claiming that the HCR bill just signed is "a government takeover of the healthcare system" is a red herring. In no way is the government taking over the system. They are very basically EXPANDING ACCESS TO THE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKET through tighter regulation of industry practices (pre-existing conditions, bans on dropping coverage, tighter rate regulation, and subsidies for those who can't afford it). The government is not in this bill becoming an insurance provider themselves, they are not pulling customers away from the private health insurance industry, they are not instituting a single-payer system. Why is that so freaking hard for you to understand???

Either you're a moron and don't get what the bill is really doing, or you're lying about what the bill is doing because you're a moron. Either way you're a moron...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:56 am

No ASB. Jim was clearly pointing out that when someone goes through bankruptcy, their bills (including medical) are factored into account just like any other bill. Does that mean that the medical condition caused the bankruptcy or that it was a factor however small or large? You decide.

Oh, and its mighty brave of you to throw around name-calling given that you use a pseudonym. My (real)name and neighborhood are clearly indicated.

Flame on my man(or woman or boy or girl...).

Respectfully,

Dan


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Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:01 am

Janna is a registered user.

Uh, Jim.

I have never owned a home. Want to know why? Because we knew we couldn't afford it. My husband was making a six figure income when I bought my car four years ago, a HOnda CR-V, not a BMW, not a Mercedes, etc. I also had money in the bank and used cash for everything. I'm now in credit card debt over $20k just trying to provide the basics to my family. Keep blaming me though, it's really working for you.

You just don't want to believe that people do actually fall on hard times through no fault of their own. Makes your arrogance that much more offensive and disgusting.


All I'd really love right now is some security in my life.


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Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:03 am

Janna's presence here, her thin skin, and her personal situation are not my fault. I will lay off of her when she stops with hysterical statements like all corporations are evil, the republicans will kill you, etc. That is why she is a punching bag, 'nuff said

On your 2nd point, I read the Harvard study previously, so I know it is not a TPM. I am taking the reality of medical bankruptcy and laying out what it means to someone who has to go through it.
So I am not being a hypocrite, I apologize Stacey, for not writing a full exposition on all of the effects of unpaid medical bills on the industry, insurance prices, and so on. I was touching quickly on the reality of medical bankruptcy. You have seen enough of my comments to know that I have acknowledged that we all pay for the uninsured who receive treatment and cannot pay.
I have told about my brother-in-law who is going through a tough situation himself. Believe me I understand that we do need to care for all people, so enough with the Jesus references and accusatory "what will you do when you get sick" stuff.

The fundamental disagreement is how we pay for this, not whether or not to pay for this.
The fundamental disagreement is whether government has the best and most efficient solution, or can the private sector do better.


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:08 am

PM - $20,000 in out of pocket healthcare expense is a ping (doesn't even qualify as a drop) in a bucket compared to what many end up with.

My sister-in-law swerved to avoid a car that was speeding when the driver lost control, and ended up with a traumatic brain injury. The driver of the car that caused her injuries recovered control and sped off and no one got the license - things happened very fast. Her husband and kids have sold their home to help pay for physical therapy (which capped out long before she stopped improving) but that $ is just about gone. She will likely end up in a skilled nursing facility, paid for through MediCal - a much more expensive proposition than receiving the proper therapies and perhaps going home to her family. Though she has long term care insurance it doesn't cover enough with her significant (and permanent) disabilities to bring her home or cover meaningful therapies while in the nursing home.

If the out of pocket expense was a mere $20,000 my family would be in much better shape, and may even have enough money left to help my sister-in-law to recover to her fullest potential.

There but for the grace of God - well, you know the rest.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:13 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Jimf01,

Sorry if I came across as calling you a hypocrite. That was not my intent. I wanted to point out the hypocrisy in such statements that occur in arguments coming from HCR opponents mostly for personal reasons. I have "keep government out of my Medicare" relatives who think our current system is so great as-is because their uninsured, no/low-income son-in-law got "free" surgery. And what will make you really mad about it is to learn that son-in-law's mother is wealthy enough to pay for the entire wedding party to go on a Mediterranean cruise.

There is a point being made here regarding the medical bankruptcies. It isn't clear what percentage of debt the medical bills constituted.


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Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:16 am

Oh asb, I have been waiting so long for you to actually respond to something.

1st, the red herring is your distortion of my statement re: medical bankruptcy. calling someone a moron is an insult, maybe you should find out what a red herring is.
- Red herring (idiom), a deliberate attempt to divert attention
- Red herring (logical fallacy), a deliberate attempt to change a subject or divert an argument Web Link you can skip the part about dried fish

You're basically saying, don't have insurance?...(blablabla)...exactly how else should we read that?

No, I am not saying that, and once again, you twisted my statement to fit your argument. Another red herring.

Claiming that the HCR bill just signed is "a government takeover of the healthcare system" is a red herring.

Oh, apologies, you do know what a red herring is. Good. Now go back and find my statement where I made that claim.

Nevermind, wait, don't bother, because I never did.

This is what HR3590 is, and I know you read my thread "If you still think this is not a progressive agenda" Web Link
you can pretend you didn't because you didn't comment in there.

HR3590 is the lynchpin of the progressive agenda, take the politicians at their own word


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Mom for Truth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:21 am

Jim, you write, "Janna's presence here, her thin skin, and her personal situation are not my fault. I will lay off of her when she stops with hysterical statements like all corporations are evil, the republicans will kill you, etc. That is why she is a punching bag, 'nuff said."
No, but your misrepresentation and distortion of her situation to fit the needs of your argument ARE your fault, and that's what I'm referring to.


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Posted by Rae
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:47 am

Maybe "jimf01", when you feel the need to demonize Janna, as well as the millions of other folks who have become unexpectedly unemployed because of the recession and are struggling to survive, you should remember that "Pleasanton Mom" is, by her own words, an unemployed HR Manager who lost her job.

Let's see how this sounds:
". . . like "Pleasanton Mom", lots of those people first bought a house they couldn't afford, bought cars they couldn't afford, put their kids in schools they couldn't afford, etc, etc, and then when they had serious medical bills, they couldn't afford them."

Heaven forbid that "Pleasanton Mom" is unable to find a job, she and her family run through their savings just to have enough money to pay for "a house they couldn't afford, bought cars they couldn't afford, put their kids in schools they couldn't afford, etc, etc,", her unemployment insurance runs out, her cancer returns and she has no health insurance.

Every time you and your Tea Party Nation faithful friends feel the need to chastise Janna with your skewed view of her personal situation, perhaps you should remember that some of your friends are in the same boat.


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Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Mar 24, 2010 at 11:07 am

Janna is a registered user.

Jim

Nice justification there. And here I thought the real hysteria is coming from the right. Government is taking away our freedoms, taking over, etc. We're all gonna die!!!!!!

Whatever makes you feel great about using me as a punching bag is fine. There's nothing you can do to me that is worse than what's already happened. Stop flattering yourself.


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Posted by anti-stupid brigade
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 1:19 pm

jim,
Pointing out that you're a moron is not an attempt to divert attention, it's simply to point out an obvious fact. As for this little piece of your response: "Good. Now go back and find my statement where I made that claim [that HCR is a government takeover of the healthcare system] . Nevermind, wait, don't bother, because I never did." Um, this will lay to rest both lines of your argument. One, that you're a moron, and why? because in the first response you made in this thread, you said this: "Myth after myth is being foisted upon the American people to try and convince them that the government should control health care" before going on to claim that having a child at a signing ceremony is akin to pedophilia. I remember when GWB had an entire roomfull of kids at the NCLB signing...i guess that makes bush a serial pedophile...nice. Moron.


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Posted by Pleasanton Mom for Truth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Wow, I missed the pedophilia thing. That IS really twisted. WTF.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2010 at 1:34 pm

And once again, anyone who would read my actual comment would see that you changed my statement and based your response off of that, and in addition avoided responding to anything else I said. I will repeat, you are consistent in failing to respond and in twisting everything I say to a different meaning

Oh, one more thing, I love it when the fallback is 'HEY, Bush did the same thing.'
Good, your guy is doing at least as well as the "worst President in history", yeah?


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Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm

PMfT and ASB,

Found an interesting rebuttal (of sorts) regarding the 62% number claimed in the Harvard study.

Web Link.

As you can see, this organization that put this out is not considered some right-wing group.

Care to share your thoughts?

Dan


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Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm

jimf01 is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Jim,

Yes, how dare I (a mere mortal) present left-leaning studies that actually counter left-leaning statistics! Ouch.

Thanks for making the day a little brighter...and thanks to Stacey, ASB, Janna and PMfT for also making it a little brighter too.

Kill em' with kindness (and facts) and all that...

Dan


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I wrote: "There is a point being made here regarding the medical bankruptcies. It isn't clear what percentage of debt the medical bills constituted."

Ah, my question was answered somewhat, but not entirely, in that factcheck.org link:

"27 percent of the surveyed debtors had unreimbursed medical expenses exceeding $1,000 over the course of the two years prior to their bankruptcy"

And this near the bottom looked informative.

"A study published in 1999 by Pennsylvania State University and Abt Associates researchers looked at filings in five court districts, determining that medical bills and credit card debt were the biggest factors leading to bankruptcy. But a 2008 study by a business professor at the University of California, Davis, said that while medical issues certainly caused bankruptcy, the bigger problem was that families spent beyond their means, leaving them vulnerable to even minor disruptions."

So medical bills and credit card debt still seem to be the biggest factors leading to bankruptcy, but only because those families took on too great a risk with their finances.


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Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Mar 24, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Janna is a registered user.

Bush had snow-flake children at one of his signings. He was absolutely surrounded by them. What say now?

I guess Jim needs to watch his words and his temper. I can't imagine we're missing much though.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Editor,

You obviously missed the "snark" in jimf01 comments calling me a moron. I took this as sarcasm (which it clearly was) and was not offended at all. See my response.

His comment did not deserve to be censored.

Further, if you want to be consistent, then maybe you should do the same with other comments where jimf01 was being called a moron with absolutely no directed sarcasm?

Think about it...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Stacey,

Thanks for the response to the factcheck.org analysis of the Harvard study.

Dan


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Mom for Truth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Dan, I wouldn't necessarily frame the fact check analysis as a rebuttal. It just explores the issues a bit more thoroughly than the blanket "medical cost" label implies. I don't think it is, as you said, a left-leaning study that counters a left-leaning argument. I think the issue is more complex than that, and the researchers did their best, and in fact better than any prior research, to pinpoint the causes as closely as possible.
I think I remember reading that one of the researchers (Woolhander?) is a proponent of single payer, so you could say there was some bias there, but every research project has that human factor. It is certainly offered by a well respected institution and subject to all expected rigor.
So I guess I read and understand the piece, but think the nitpicking of percentages does little to detract from the basic argument that the un- and underinsured (which could be anyone) face potentially fiscally dire consequences under the status quo, and that this type of scenario more frequently undermines financial security that many other possible causes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm

HA ha ! Censored, finally. I have arrived.

Oh btw Janna you are missing a lot. I can guarantee you that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What?
a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 25, 2010 at 12:55 am

Seems like someone hewre "missed" thier own birth!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Life Long Republican
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Jim is a political guy from Tracy...Isn't this the "Pleasanton" Weekly?

He comes onto the Pleasanton forum and comments so inappropriately that the editor has to delete his posts? Why is he here?



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