States Confront Medical Debt That is Bankrupting Millions
Some lawmakers are supporting legislation to curtail these financial burdens
Cindy Powers was driven into bankruptcy by 19 life-saving abdominal operations. Medical debt started stacking up for Lindsey Vance after she crashed her skateboard and had to get nine stitches in her chin. And for Misty Castaneda, open heart surgery for a disease she’d had since birth saddled her with $200,000 in bills.
These are three of an estimated 100 million Americans who have amassed nearly $200 billion in collective medical debt — almost the size of Greece’s economy — according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Now lawmakers in at least a dozen states and the U.S. Congress have pushed legislation to curtail the financial burden that’s pushed many into untenable situations: forgoing needed care for fear of added debt, taking a second mortgage to pay for cancer treatment or slashing grocery budgets to keep up with payments.
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