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Medical Bankruptcy: Myth versus Fact, Health Affairs

Abstract

Himmelstein, Warren, Thorne and Woolhandler recently contended that medical problems contribute to 54.5 percent of personal bankruptcies and threaten the solvency of solidly middle class Americans. They propose comprehensive national health insurance (NHI) as a solution. A re-examination of their data suggests that medical bills are a contributing factor in just 17 percent of personal bankruptcies and that those affected tend to have incomes closer to poverty level than to middle class. Moreover, for NHI to have an impact it would have to define medical expenses in a much broader way than is now typical of either private or government-funded plans.

Type

Article

Author(s)

David Dranove, Michael Millenson

Date Published

2006

Citations

Dranove, David, and Michael Millenson. 2006. Medical Bankruptcy: Myth versus Fact. Health Affairs. 25(2): 74-83.

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