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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy