Summary: Recently we reported on a national survey of medical debt. A new report uses credit bureau data to describe which local factors predict high levels of medical debt in collections. They are: being in the South, % of population with 4 or more chronic medical conditions, % low birth weight, % uninsured, % Black, low average income, and high medical spending.
Comment by Jim Kahn of PNHP: Black spots on the US map indicate that >30% of consumers have medical debt in collections. Not just medical debt, but in formal collections processes. Darker blue areas are at 20-30%. Predictors include high rates of uninsurance, and related to that living in states with no ACA Medicaid expansion. Also the usual markers of vulnerability: % sick with multiple chronic conditions, % low birth weight, % low income, and % Black.
What is wrong with our country that we waste >$600 billion yearly on administrative complexity and profits for a fractured insurance system that torments the most vulnerable among us with financial problems related to getting medical care? We stand along among wealthy countries in this cruelty.
Our health care financing system is a massive failure — inefficient, unkind, and deadly. No tweaks will fix its fundamental problems. How much clearer could that be? We must find a way to transform today’s crises into a health system and country we can be proud of.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction