Senator Bernie Sanders describes a plan to also eliminate $ 81 billion in overdue medical debts.
Eight million Americans file bankruptcy annually due to medical expenses. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wants to end it.
The idea, outlined by his campaign, focuses on making the federal government "negotiate and pay overdue medical bills in collections that have been reported to credit agencies."
According to Sanders, this will eliminate $ 81 billion in overdue debt. A surprising figure, your plan would help the 46 million Americans who have at least one unpaid medical bill on their credit report.
If you believe that the millions of Americans with overdue medical debts are simply irresponsible, think again. In 2015, the late physicist Leon Lederman, winner of the Nobel Prize, sold his Nobel Prize gold medal for $ 765,000 to cover medical bills.
Another thought is that those who declared bankruptcy simply had no insurance. However, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said in the presidential debate last night that "I spent most of my time studying a basic question, and that is why working people are ruined." And one of the main reasons is the cost of medical care. And when I was studying it, two out of every three families who ended up in bankruptcy after a serious medical problem had health insurance. ”
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health echoes its findings. This study, conducted by Dr. Himmelstein, et al., Found that two-thirds of bankruptcies were due to medical expenses or medical problems that caused job loss. If you include all the reasons related to medicine, the figure jumps to 71.5%.
Regardless of your political inclinations, or whatever the actual percentage of bankruptcies due to medical difficulties, it is clear that the increase in the cost of medical expenses is a major problem.
These are the highlights of the Sanders plan:
Eliminate the $ 81 billion in overdue medical debts.
Eliminate and exclude medical debts from existing credit reports.
To prohibit the disclosure of the discharge of medical debt in homes, loans or other applications.
Include extensive "automatic suspension" protections, placing an immediate ban on any eviction, interruptions of public services (heating, electricity, etc.), foreclosure procedures, wage garnishments, driver's license suspensions and other actions.
Substantially limit the assets that can be seized and the wages that can be seized in the collection to ensure that consumers do not lose their homes, jobs or primary vehicles and can financially support their families.
Allow the award, including possible discharge, of the debt, including interest and fines, derived from direct payments to providers and insurers for medical expenses. Assuming documentation, this includes medical debt incurred on credit cards or any other consumer debt product.
Prohibit the collection of debts beyond the statute of limitations.
Significantly limit contact attempts per week that a collector can make to an individual through any mode of communication, regardless of how many bills are collected.
Eliminate means proof requirements to declare bankruptcy.
Many of Sanders' plan elements may seem ambitious, but that does not mean they are not very necessary. The reality is that in the United States today, those with the highest paid jobs and usually get the best health insurance coverage.
Meanwhile, those with initial or low-level jobs get worse coverage and less comprehensive insurance. This means that those who are poor end up owing the most money and quickly run out of options. It is an unfair system in which insurance companies win, while working Americans lose.
With an average three-day stay at a hospital that costs $ 30,000, which is almost 50% of the average annual income of households, it is not surprising that Americans simply cannot keep up. Once the income, housing and other necessary taxes are taken into account, it is easy to see how a single trip to the hospital can cause a catastrophe.
It reminds me of the 2001 comedy, Down to earth starring Chris Rock in which a character says that hospitals will charge $ 100,000 for cardiac surgery and then have the nerve to tell him to relax. The last thing you have in mind is to relax, when you know that you may never be able to recover financially.
As it is becoming very common, an anonymous user posted the following question on Reddit.com:
“I currently have a medical debt in the amount of $ 137,000 after insurance, mainly thanks to a high-risk pregnancy and two very sick babies. I owe it to several different parties: several doctors, laboratories, hospitals, support staff, surgeons, all billed separately and some of the staff we saw in the hospital was out of network for our insurance. My husband and I currently earn a little less than ~ $ 70,000 annually between the two of us for a family of four, and I go to college. I had to call because the bills were due, and they put me in a payment plan that is more than our mortgage, and that is a monthly rate as low as they could. Even depleting all our savings, there is no way we can keep this for more than a few months. I have no idea what to do? Should I declare bankruptcy?
The best ranked answer to your question? To publish your petition on social networks with the hope that the hospital can work with it or extinguish part of it.
Clearly, there has to be a better solution.
. (tagsToTranslate) Bernie (t) Bernie Sanders (t) Sanders (t) Medical debt (t) bankruptcy (t) medical bills (t) health insurance