100 mln people in U.S. saddled with health care debt: report

(Xinhua) 09:03, June 21, 2022

NEW YORK, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Over 100 million people in America, including 41 percent of adults, are beset by a health care system that is systematically pushing patients into debt on a mass scale, a daily newspaper in Rome, in the U.S. state of Georgia, reported on Saturday.

Despite new attention from the White House and Congress, the problem is "far more pervasive than previously reported," the Rome News-Tribune newspaper reported, citing an investigation by Kaiser Health News (KHN) and National Public Radio (NPR).

"That is because much of the debt that patients accrue is hidden as credit card balances, loans from family, or payment plans to hospitals and other medical providers," it said.

"The picture is bleak. In the past five years, more than half of U.S. adults report they've gone into debt because of medical or dental bills," said the report. A quarter of adults with health care debt owe more than 5,000 U.S. dollars, and about one in five with any amount of debt said they don't expect to ever pay it off.

"Debt is no longer just a bug in our system. It is one of the main products," said Rishi Manchanda, who has worked with low-income patients in California for more than a decade and served on the board of the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt. "We have a health care system almost perfectly designed to create debt." 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


Related Stories