Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On the Hill, Elizabeth Edwards Calls Attention to Medical Bankruptcies

By Ed O'Keefe

Elizabeth Edwards today lent her political star power to a underlooked element of the ongoing health care debate: the rise in bankruptcies related to health care costs.

A recent Harvard study concluded that at least 62 percent of bankruptcy debtors can trace at least part of their financial hardship to medical debt. Data from 2007 also indicate a 49 percent increase in medical bankruptcies as a proportion of all bankruptcy filings between 2001 and 2007. The total number of medical-related bankruptcies is likely higher; study data was compiled before the recession began last year.

Lawmakers met to review the medical bankruptcy study as their colleagues continue crafting legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

“Successful health reform must not just make health insurance affordable, affordable health insurance has to make health care affordable,” Edwards told lawmakers at a morning hearing called by the House Judiciary subcommittee on commercial and administrative law.

Read it all at the Washington Post

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