Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Middle Class Bankruptcies

There's a real disconnect for many people when it comes to realizing that politics really does have a real and immediate effect on their lives. This article does a great job of illustrating that concept:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Half of all U.S. bankruptcies are caused by soaring medical bills and most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance, researchers said Wednesday.

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, estimated that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans every year, if both debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children, are counted.

"Our study is frightening. Unless you're Bill Gates you're just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," said Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who led the study. "Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick. Health insurance offered little protection."

That's scary shit. It's really quite amazing how well the Right have demonized government run health care, to the point that people find the alternative of mass bankruptcy filings preferable. Just to emphasize, "most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance". That sounds like just about everyone I know.

We're not talking about the lowest 20% anymore. We're talking about everyone except for the wealthy. Who's best interests do HMOs have in mind?