Medical Debt

I’ve written here before about my sense that the U.S. needs to join the rest of the civilized world by turning medical care into a government service for citizens. Instead, we, the capitalists of the world, make medicine a business, a way to make money.

The result is that those of us who can afford it have medical insurance to pay our medical bills. But, according to a 2021 survey conducted by West Health and Gallup, almost 10 percent of us, some 31.1 million people, lack health insurance. And a staggering 46 million people—nearly one-fifth of all Americans—cannot afford necessary healthcare services. One result is that many go without medical care; another is that medical debt among our population is huge. According to Small Town American Media, “Nearly 20 percent of Americans have some form of medical debt. Medical debt amounts to some of the greatest debt American’s hold. In total, Americans have about $141 billion in medical debt.”

When will we grow up, follow the model of the advanced democracies of the world, and treat medical care as a right instead of as a service for sale?

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