|Selected research from leading health care experts whose findings have a direct bearing on public policies effecting medical progress. Research is chosen based on its quality and relevance by the Medical Progress Today editorial staff.||
Medical Bankruptcy: Myth vs. Fact
Dranove and Millenson take issue with an February 2005 article in Health Affairs alleging an epidemic of consumer bankruptcies stemming from medical costs.
David Himmelstein and colleagues 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 as a solution. A reexamination 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 national health insurance 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.
Both Dranove’s critique and the original article are well worth reading, and we will leave it to our readers to decide who has the better argument.
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