Medical bankruptcy: Myth versus fact

David Dranove*, Michael L. Millenson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)w74-w83
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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