Study: More bankruptcies blamed on medical costs

Sacramento BeeJune 4, 2009 

The cost of health care continues to burden Americans in alarming numbers, with 62 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 blamed on unaffordable medical bills, according to Harvard researchers.

What's more, three-fourths of those debtors had health insurance, according to a study to be published in August in the American Journal of Medicine.

The study could further underscore the urgency in which policymakers undertake an overhaul of the country's health care system. Congress has begun drafting what health care advocates say will be comprehensive legislation that addresses the high cost of medicine and access to quality health care, particularly among the poor and uninsured.

"In 2007, before the current economic downturn, an American family filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of illness every 90 seconds; three quarters of them were insured," the study said.

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