The Trouble with For-Profit Healthcare: Even the Insured Face Mountains of Debt

For one in five Americans, just having medical insurance isn’t enough to forestall the damaging consequences of the nation’s for-profit healthcare system.

A comprehensive new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the New York Times finds that while an unsurprising 53 percent of people who are uninsured face problems with medical bills, a whopping 20 percent of working-age Americans who do have insurance also report having medical debt that causes serious financial challenges and changes in employment and lifestyle.

According to a Kaiser Foundation statement, people with insurance who faced the burden of medical debt reported “a wide range of consequences and sacrifices during the past year as a result,” including:

delaying vacations or major household purchases (77%),
spending less on food, clothing and basic household items (75%),
using up most or all their savings (63%),
taking an extra job or working more hours (42%),
increasing their credit card debt (38%),
borrowing money from family or friends (37%),
changing their living situation (14%), and
seeking the aid of a charity (11%).

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